I’m realizing I’m spoiled.
Not just because I grew up middle-class, although that’s part of it. Not just because I rarely worry about money, although that’s part of it. For all the material reasons, yes, I am spoiled. Over the last couple of days I am realizing I am spoiled for another reason, before which I never considered.
I’m spoiled because my experience with church has been largely positive.
That isn’t to say I haven’t been hurt by the church. I‘ve been hurt, as I think most who have been in church for any length of time have been.
I read Micah’s post over at Redemption Pictures that is filled with words of actual people expressing actual pain from actual experiences. And it broke my heart. It put on full display the worst of the church. It put on display the stain-filled garment of the bride of Christ. And it broke me.
Because, by and large, that is not my experience.
It shouldn’t be anyone’s experience.
But it is.
You see, I’m spoiled because I grew up in a church and tradition that didn’t frown upon science. My physics professor at the Christian college I attended told me science was a way to understand the creation, and in understanding creation we understand the creator. Science was rolled right up into our spirituality and sat next to the Bible peacefully.
I’m spoiled because, even though I was fired from a church, the people of the church reached out to me, affirmed me, and four years later invited me back to preach and to reconcile.
I’m spoiled because the church I pastor embraces questions. They even let me question (to hear this on display listen to my sermon from 6/2/2013 titled “Believing in Unbelief”) as their pastor.
I’m spoiled because my parents, while encouraging my faith, never forced my faith.
I’m spoiled because I have always felt welcomed.
I’m spoiled because sex was never a centerpiece of my church experience.
So far all the hub-bub and back and forth and disagreeing and countering and side-taking that is going on this week in the Christian blogosphere let me say, “I’m glad it is happening.” It forces us, the church, to look at ourselves. It forces us to hear the stories we don’t want to hear so that we can see the results we are getting. It forces us to consider that something may have to change.
And I really hope it forces us to listen – to each other.