“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, November 12, 2007

The church of the "big butt"

There is a friend of mine, a friend with cognitive disabilities who regularly will go up to our pastor, shake his hand, and say, "I love this church!" Our senior pastor as well as any other pastors he has commented to have shared with me that they love hearing that comment. That is, not "I love this church, but..." but just, "I love this church!" Now most of us would probably qualify as members of the former of the two statements. We love our church, but we are critical of this or that. We love our church but we wish this or that would be different. Our buts add up into a large butt. We even might demean the unqualified love of our church by our disabled friends, by saying "Yeah, he has a cognitive disability. He doesn't understand the nuances of what his statement means. He isn' t really saying the loves EVERYTHING about the church, he just doesn't have the cognitive ability to differentiate." We, however, with our normal intellect would not be demeaned when we say, that we love the church except for the, music, style of biblical interpretation, noise, type of donuts, and so on and so on. You see, we arethe normal ones. It is normal to be the church member with the big butt. It is NOT normal to be the church member who says, "I love my church" without qualification.

But if you think through it, who would be the one who might have the actual reason to qualify his love for the church with buts? Would it be the university professor with a good income and respected position in the church? Or would it be the member of the devalued class, living in poverty, whom the church has largely ignored for centuries?

To use the metaphor of the big butt, if a person has a big butt, it implies that they have something they would be better off not having. That is if they excercise and eat right, chances are they would shed their big butt. A big butt may imply laziness or self-centeredness. Now if you have a big butt, I apologize if this offends you, but stick with me. Our qualification of love for the church with a but statement, says more about us than it does about the church. We are quick to nit pick and do nothing. We are unwilling to have the involvement that would exercise our faith perhaps causing us to loose our big but.

In my experience, it is those who are most familiar with the foibles of the church who love it. You could read this blog and accuse me of being a hypocrite in this area. But I will tell you that I love the church without qualification. It is God's chosen body for His Son, Jesus Christ. It is because I love the church that I want to see it become all it could be. It is my hope that buts in this blog are not, "I love the church, but I hate this..." Rather that "I love the church and it can become this..." Let me say that if the church made no changes whatsoever to what it is now doing, it would still be the best option for persons with disabilities. If only because their presence would wake it up to all it can and will be. It is like dormant seeds in the soil that just need water. Because it is God's choice, God's way of doing things, it is and always be the best option. Will it fail? Absolutely it will fail. I still love the church.



Anonymous said...

There is an old Southern phrase about loving someone..."warts and all." We should love the Church...warts and all. We should be doing what we can to improve those areas of our local church that are within our sphere of influnce. If we are not working and serving, then we have not earned the right to express our criticism...regardles of how valid it may be. I think it is important to realize the difference between being critical and condemnation. I would define condemnation as criticism expressed with no intention of sacrificial service being offered to improve the situation. To continue with your "but" theme...the best "but" in the Bible is found in Romans, "..but there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." If God does not condemn us, then we should be imitators of God and not condemn the Church or our local church. In closing...it may help if we remind ourselves that, although we may think we are a beauty mark,...some may see us as a wart. If we keep that in mind, then we may be less prone to condemn others.

Unknown said...

I really like the blog, A friend of mine, who is a christian as well as myself, enjoy the lively discussion, Im glad my friend told me about this blog, God bless.

Unknown said...

I love the blog, God bless you

MJH said...

Some people will use the phrase they "love the church in spite of it's problems." I look at the church and love it because of its problems. The church is not an institution or building, but people. If people had no problems or sin, would the Church need to exist? I love the church because it has room for me. I love the church because it is made up of people who need Christ. Naturally, people who need Christ are imperfect and fail on a daily basis. By definition the problems of the Church affirm the humanity and the need for redemption within the Church. The problems and shortcomings of the church highlight our need for Christ. Sure, the church can improve, because people can improve. Sure, the Church should be more compassionate and just, not because of some institutional problem;but rather because I have room to be more compassionate and just. If the church was perfect would it have any room for me?