An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth

There is so much good to say about the church. Through the years I have published articles, written sermons, and publicly and passionately advocated for churches. Goodness, to be really candid, for the last thirty or so years I have made my living working for churches.

 

But there is an inconvenient truth: sometimes, perhaps much of the time, church and church members can be difficult. Sometimes church and church members can be painful. One person commented recently that she could never seem to fit into any of the observable cliques that she saw in the churches she visited. She knew there was good there, but could never seem to be included in that good.

 

I get it, I really do.

 

Deep in our humanity is the need to find community. We live not in isolation, but in relationships. Communities, however, can quickly become closed groups. In a provincial sense of the word, communities can become cliques. This is when communities get twisted, mutated, and fearful. Maybe we do not mean to be, but it easier to turn our backs on others, because we are more comfortable with the familiar.

 

In my neighborhood live several families from Turkey. The old grandfather, hobbled by age and arthritis, speaks very little English. When I am out walking my dog, he will give me a small, toothless smile, while clutching his cane in one hand and his rosary beads in another. His children are much more comfortable with the language, although they still struggle for the right words when we exchange brief pleasantries. Their children, however, “fit right in.” I assume they were born in this country and so things like language, dress, and sports – what can be called “culture” – helps them adjust in a way that their grandfather will never know. Of course if I were to move to Turkey my plight would be the same as his. I am glad they are finding a place and I am grateful to share a small part of that place with them.

 

There is an inconvenient truth that churches can be closed: close-minded; isolated; irrelevant; fearful; and exclusive. Here I am not simply talking about ethnic diversity, although that is not a bad place to start. I am talking about anyone who is “different” – economically; socially; emotionally; intellectually; politically…this list could go on and on.

 

We who go to church and practice church and believe in the church have a responsibility to confess where we have failed to be good neighbors of welcome and commit to practicing a higher truth.

 

Jesus opened his arms wide and said: “Come unto me all who are weary…” Weary is another word for tired. Many are tired of church, so we have work to do to be the living incarnation of the Body of Christ inviting a tired world to find rest, a place to go to, a people to belong to, and where there is always room at the table for one more.

 

May the inconvenient truth be transformed to The Truth, The Way, and The Life.

 

Amen,

Greg

15 Comments

  1. This is excellent for all of us at FBC August.

  2. As always, your blogs bring tears to my eyes. I am so thankful for you, a man of God, who reaches out to everyone. You are the man of God that went across the road to the Church of another denomination, another race, to reach out and say, “hello, neighbor”, in love. you reach out to everyone you can reach to share Christ. God bless you always.

  3. This has been a problem in Augusta more than once. It is definitely a message we all need to “hear” and not just read! Thanks again for your words of wisdon

  4. Thank you so much for your words Dr. Greg! It is true! Yes, we need to open our hearts! Keep writing, please!

  5. Thanks Greg for another post that is “spot on”. I hope you hike some “happy trails” this spring & summer😀

  6. Thank you for speaking truth. Most people realize these truths about church, yet fail to acknowledge them. ♥

  7. Thank you again, Greg. You express what I feel but can’t put into words. Bless you for not being afraid to write the truth.

  8. Not only in our church community, but also in our work and “play” communities, even within our families. Thank you, Greg. Love and Easter blessings to you both.

  9. Amen Greg!!
    So thankful for your blogs.
    I can “hear” you speaking the very words you write.. You are truly missed!

  10. Greg, You have courage to speak up about the problem. I have always loved my Pastors including you, and realized the nature of the problem you described so well. Christianity is in trouble worldwide, including the US, not so much because of the nature of Church members, but because cultural decline.

    Many Blessings to you, Amy and family,

  11. I hope one day in the future your Blogs will be put into a book. All that I have read have a message just for me. Yesterday 6 First Baptist men on mission showed up at my door with hammers,nails and saws and 6 hours later had built a first class ramp. This surely makes my mobility much better. What a blessing!

  12. Your point is well made.

  13. This is a very important reality. Everyone wants to feel like they are at ‘home’ and ‘loved’ when they go to gather for worship. Nurture is a spiritual gift I have tried to use in my ministry through the years. I am not an outstanding teacher but I try to nurture through God’s love. I know that is what I need. We need to build genuine caring community within our congregations. Dr. DeLoach, may God continue to bless your ministry.

  14. Miss your presence. Appreciate and enjoy your blogs

  15. Boy that is the truth. We sure have them as you know.I guess that is where my church family is choir. Children of course get kind of left out. Makes me sad.