No One Really Cares About Our Church-y Arguments

For some reason, I've been thinking this morning about a woman who was a member of one of my former churches.  

I had so much in common with her and her husband--similar interests in music, movies, TV shows and even a shared love of sarcasm and twisted humor.  

But in the end, this woman became disillusioned with both me and the church because of her far-right religious beliefs and her extremely narrow view of the Bible.  

She had a few confrontational meetings with me, and then she and her husband eventually stopped attending.  

It didn't stop there, though.  She grew angry and vindictive, even going so far as to try to convince friends of hers still in the church they needed to leave, too.  

She was so certain that she was right, and that I was wrong that she was willing to malign me, demean me and tell outright lies about me.  It was a hurtful time, to be sure.  

I've spent a lot of my life being triggered by people like this woman.  It's so easy and tempting to just get in the gutter with them to fight it all out.  

But to what end?  

Lately, I'm striving to do something different. It's not always easy, but I'm learning the payoff is incredible.  

You see, people who are outside of the Church, who have given up on Christianity, who have no clue what Jesus really taught, who don't know what they believe about God... they could care less about our arguments.  

In fact, those kinds of arguments are turning them away even more.  

What people long for is a better way.  What the world around us needs is a word of hope.  What those of us who claim to follow Jesus can provide is a better story.  

In the words of the 14th-century author of The Cloud of Unknowing: 
God is truly wonderful in lavishing his grace... the world stands bewildered before love like this. 
I'm going to be striving to show a better way with my work, my preaching, the words I share with others, and in the space I long to create around me where people feel safe to experience God's great grace.  

May you strive to do the same in your life.  May you be a light that allows people to see Jesus better.  May you be the kind of person that brings out the God-flavors in the world.  May you discover new ways to tell a better story.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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