On a more thought provoking note...

On a more thought provoking note, the past few weeks I feel as if this same message has been hitting me from many different directions. Different situations, but the same message.

The message is: You shouldn't necessarily disown something just because you've had a bad experience with it.

Now, this message isn't an absolute or any sort of science. But it's very easy to avoid things that make you frustrated, angry, hurt, or just leave a bad taste in your mouth. You might avoid a certain person because (as my mother says) "They could annoy the warts off of a toad". You might avoid a restaurant because the service was really crappy. You might avoid church because you've seen/experienced a horrible representation of Jesus Christ. You might avoid certain aspects of Christianity because you don't quite understand them. You might avoid marriage because you are depressed by the horrible picture of marriage that is in our culture. You might avoid dating because it is complicating and awkward.

These are all little snapshots of my world. These are all some of the things that urk me, and make me run away. But over the past few weeks I have had to face some of these things and I've been dealing with some major self/soul improvement. We human beings are pretty good at messing things up once in a while. We are pretty good at abusing privileges, misinterpreting things, and acting in ways that are contrary to our ideals.
When we are confronted by our frustration, no matter what it is, it is usually a lot easier to just walk way. Isn't it?

For me, I get frustrated with the church. I believe in a church that is bigger and better than what we see in the world around us today. I believe that there is a church that really does care for people, that really does take care of the sick and the poor, and that really does involve itself in the world. I believe that there is a church that doesn't shove religious ideals down anyone's throat, but instead gets on hands and knees and humbly serves ALL people regardless of religious standards. I believe in a church that is aware of their world rather than blinded to current politics and events. I believe in a church of grace and creativity.
Where is this church? Well, I'm trying to find it. But I can't (or shouldn't) walk way from the church of today just because I'm frustrated or offended by it. Why shouldn't I walk away? Because I can't base my opinion from a false truth. I can't base my opinion of the church on the sick-mutations that I see.

This concept came up in my weekly discussion group as well. We were talking about marriage. It is amazing how many people avoid the idea of marriage because of the disfunctional marriages they have experienced in their world. It IS depressing! I myself have often wondered if I really want to get myself involved in a marriage when all around me I hear women crabbing about their husbands, divorces happening daily, fighting, disrespect, and boredom. But I can't blind myself to the many many healthy marriages around me. I can't avoid the opportunity to learn from people who are displaying the healthy version of marriage. There's a lot to learn.

Yes...there is a lot to learn. Ultimately, when we walk away, we are not only avoiding that thing, but we are avoiding the opportunity to learn. We are avoiding a person that might need our love, or might be able to teach us something. We are refusing to figure things out. We are allowing ourselves to believe that the misrepresentations are true.
We have a sense of discernment for a reason...we should be responsible to follow through with it.


Jasie said...

Awesome thoughts, April. I've been thinking a lot about commitment lately, and what I perceive as a sort of push/pull between the giving and the getting. I'll hopefully write a more fleshed out bit of what I mean, but in a nutshell... It's tough. Even when it's good, but when it's not good - like experience in the church - it seems nigh on impossible.

Write From Karen said...

Hello April, Michele sent me.

I don't see you walking away, I see you stepping back and assessing the situation. I see you questioning authority and not willing to blindly follow the masses because it's the norm, or the thing to do. Bravo.

I abhor church. Not because of the subject matter, I'm a Christian, too, but because I am mortified at the way these preachers manipulte people and twist the word of God around to suit their own agendas. Gads, don't get me started. Just know that your faith is a private and wonderful thing and you can love God with, or without, a formal institution.

I've been married for 17 years. We've had lots of ups and some pretty big-time downs, but overall, being married to your best friend is the best relationship you can possibly find yourself in. Please don't allow the stats and others to dissuade you to think otherwise. Just learn from what you're seeing/hearing and choose wisely (isn't that a line from a movie? lol).

I think it's WONDERFUL that you're assessing the world around you and I'm confident that "seeing" what's available to you will enable you to live a productive and happy life. :-)

Stace said...

Wow! good thoughts by all!
I remember Mom and Dad saying "If there were no rainy days, we wouldn't be able to appreciate the sunny ones." It's so true! The same can be said for situations, people, places, events...
So, what about dome lids. Are you going to give them another chance? They're crying out to you! "Please don't avoid us! We just want to be loved and appreciated!!"

paul said...

great thoughts - i think it is vital that we know what we are reacting against and why - it is too easy to get all idealistic about church when often it is just a case of our bad experiences making us wanting to chose a different way.

That is no bad thing in itself unless of course we start comparing and contrasting and running the other way of doing things down just because it didn't work for us - what do you think?

Interestingly i've just written a very similar post based on people's reactions to institutional church, so thank you for stirring my thoughts more.