From the Pastor July/August

I love the church. The church has, for the most part, been good to me, taken care of me, and helped me grow into who I am. With love, though, comes honesty, and I have some (many?) honest and loving critiques of the church. I understand why many people don’t want to go to church. Rather than write a list, I’ll focus in on the one that has been rattling around in my head the last few weeks. It goes something like this:


If one knew nothing of the world and humanity, and one only learned about the world and humanity by going to church, one would have no idea that the world and humanity are fascinating.


Which is a wordy way of saying church is boring.


Not boring in the sense that long car rides are boring or meetings are boring (although sometimes that), but boring as in un-curious and uncreative. The church - liberal, conservative, left, right, and points in between - doesn’t give people enough credit for being interesting. We reduce people and the world to a few issues near and dear to us. People are only sin and salvation or they are only racism and justice or they are only immorality and purity. We don’t want to wrestle with complexity and layers and shifting identities and understanding.


I think - no, I know because I have heard it all to often - that people don’t come to church because they don’t feel like they can be themselves, that they have to leave parts of themselves at the door, often significant parts. This feeling is made worse when they are led to believe that they are welcome. This is true in even the most open-minded churches.


People search for meaning. That search goes beyond justice, salvation, morality. Who am I? Where do I belong? How does my self, my whole self, my many selves, fit into this complex world? People search, it’s in our nature, and if they don’t find what they need at church, they’ll look elsewhere. However, the church can be, is uniquely equipped to be, a place that digs in deep and wrestles with these questions, without pretending to have prefabricated answers. It begins with believing that we and the world are as fascinating as the God who created us in God’s image.





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