In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had some e-mail exchanges with a friend of mine. She’s wanting to borrow one of my nativities for a service at her congregation, and I think I will probably be able to help her out.
While we were discussing that, she invited me to the service–and said she’d “be glad to share in some bashing of the church” if I was still so-inclined to do so.
Now, some brief history that led to that remark…
Because of some decisions made in the last three years that affect our international headquarters, she and I both lost our jobs there. I was fortunate to land another full-time one…she was offered a part-time one and worked there for a while…but finally got tired of dealing with “stuff” and has moved to another organization (where she loves what she’s doing).
There were a couple of years when I really was not a pleasant person to live with–angry with the church leadership…resentful and angry at the lack of congruence I saw between words and actions… I really was well on the way to becoming a bitter old woman!
Thank God I was able to get with a counselor and work through my reactions and issues. Do I still have concerns? You bet! Do I still raise issues? Yup.
But do I still feel like bashing the church and church leadership? No… That really doesn’t solve anything–or do anyone any good.
Do I blame my friend (and other friends) for feeling that way? No, I don’t. I’ve walked the road they’ve walked and understand how difficult it can be to trust the church when feeling betrayed. But I don’t want to go there again…and I’ve come to understand that any time there are people involved in an organization, there are going to be issues and decisions that I won’t agree with.
My faith is not in the church, although that is where I am feeling called to live out my commitment. It is in God…and in the presence of the Prince of Peace and the Comforter who walked with me on the road during what St. John of the Cross called the dark night of the soul.