I’ve read them. I feel like I’ve read them all-the letters from well-meaning, well-written peers of mine. Posts penned by young (well, relatively young) people unhappy with and enlightened by the woes of the Church. And they all know the various reasons why people are leaving the Church, the problems they see and the ways to fix said problems.
The ladies ministry is too old-fashioned, and yet the worship is too flashy and fake. The pastor doesn’t use enough technology, and yet he’s trying too hard to be relevant and contemporary. The Church is too inwardly focused, yet not focused enough on your needs. It all makes my head and heart hurt.
Are your letters about what’s wrong with the church helping? Or, hurting?
If I can glean anything from these open letters, it’s this–maybe people (my people, Millennials) are leaving the Church because we are spoiled, selfish, uneasily satisfied, hypercritical, consumeristic and socially enlightened but biblically light-weight.
Now if it’s not already clear, I love the Church. I’m crazy, obsessed and slightly obnoxiously in love with the Church and her leaders. I’m not objective. I’m not impartial. Stop reading if you need to, at least I’ve owned it.
So when you choose to air your grievances against her in the name of edification, I don’t probably give you the benefit of the doubt you deserve. I’ll admit that much. But let me explain why it wounds so.
I’ve been married for fourteen years. I adore my husband, but our marriage isn’t perfect because neither of us is perfect. I know my faults and his. And you may be my best friend, but if you come to me and say,
“Listen, I know you love Chad, and because I love you and Chad, I feel I need or deserve to tell you the truth about him. I don’t know if you see what I see. I don’t know if you are aware of all his flaws. So I’d like to tell you my opinion of those. And really, because I think it’s so important, I’d like to write an open letter to post on social media about him. But it’s because I love him, and I love you. I want him to be the best version of himself.”
I will probably smile and pray for grace while imagining throat-chopping you, in the name of Jesus of course.
Forgive me for the irreverence, but I wonder if Jesus feels a bit of the same with every post, comment and “share” these open letters get. The Church is the Bride of Christ. He died for her. He loves Her, and gave Himself up for HER.
Don’t pretend to love me, but disrespect my spouse. Don’t pretend to love Jesus, but damage the Church. You can’t love Jesus but hate the Church.