Open Letter to the Church

this is an open letter – an editorial if you will – and not indicative of any of the other authors of this blog

Dear Church,

I don’t think I can keep doing this.

I’m not sure I can walk through the church doors every week knowing that nothing will change in my lifetime. When I was in my own wilderness wandering, when my future and my doctrine seemed uncertain, it was easy to console myself with the idea of this being only a season. I could last a season. I could survive. 

But a season has become a lifetime. And with the results of this week’s election, and knowing that the quarter of the country’s population who asked for racism and bigotry and misogyny to guide our nation’s decisions actually populate the halls and classrooms and worship of my own church, it is more than I can take.

Something has to give.

I have had moments of hope. Brief episodes of God’s grace spilling out from our weak-willed, thin skins. I have seen men and women open their hands abundantly to children and single mothers with next to nothing. I have been engaged in conversations which expanded the limits of my knowledge and forced a sea change in my understanding of white privilege. I have had a parent ask for her child to be in my class because she knew I would offer a dissenting opinion – and she wanted her kid to have to ask the hard questions. These were such encouraging starbursts in the dark night of a church’s soul.

But nothing has changed.

Nothing changes.

And in actuality, it feels instead like we are losing what ground we’ve won.

After four years and a degree from a conservative Christian college, I learned this singular lesson which I carry with me into every conversation and classroom and encounter: it’s not about instrumental music. 

Seems really obvious, doesn’t it? A piano doesn’t decide my fate. Drums don’t determine my path.

It’s not the doctrine that saves us. It’s not my stance on abortion or my willingness to defend the inerrancy of the Bible or my ability to quote Scripture that saves me. It’s not baptism that saves me. It is love incarnate, Jesus Christ, the human form wholly divine who bridges that gap between the one righteous God and the created, physical, broken world.

But I don’t know why no one seems to believe that any longer.

What’s happened to love?

It’s not my politics. It’s not my vote. It’s not a platform or a stance – it’s love. It is literally love. God is love. I don’t know how to exist in a church that continues to turn a blind eye to the very real problems of meanness, marginalization, disenfranchisement, oppression, and hate.

Where are our black elders, deacons, teachers? Why are there no women standing before us with testimonies and praise and a word of encouragement without being required to have a husband stand with her? Why do our twenty-somethings feel rejected and judged so that they never come back? How is it that we cater and excuse and profit the nuclear family while ignoring the needs of families in all different makes and models? Why do I hear micro-aggression in the hallways from our own members, children, elders? Why do we find it so easy to shake our heads at the queer community but not once have we offered them love?

It’s not godly.

We have had our time to think. We have had our years of questioning and talking and being shown a better way. We have spent seasons on our knees with our heart lifted up to God, praying for a path. It is time to act. 

Something has to give.

Either we are his peacemakers, his ambassadors, his emissaries of love – which means deliverance to the captive, sight to the blind, food to the hungry, justice to the nation, release to the oppressed – or we are not.

I pray we are. I don’t want to divorce my family, to do this without you. But I won’t simply talk any longer. I’m weary of talking.

I don’t want to do this any more. I hope you don’t either.

With grace,

A follower of God

6 comments

  1. I believe in love, and I believe in you, Laura, but I have serious doubts about your church. I commend your courage for voicing yours.

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  2. Thank you for putting the perfect words to my feelings over the past few months. I’ve been unable to explain my heartbreak and outrage at how far backwards things have gone, and how deeply I am feeling the power of Evil take hold over us. I’ve watched people hold up signs and cheer for change, but that change they are applauding is hatred and rejection. Every time I see it, I picture the tears God is weeping for us. If we continue to let this Evil in to our homes, our churches, our hearts and minds, we are doomed to a lifetime of war, poverty, greed, violence and anger, simply because we have stopped listening, and stopped accepting the possibility of that love. There is no room in this world for a closed mind and hateful spirit, especially not as the chosen leader for a free nation.
    I believe in love, and I am done being quiet. For myself, for my children, and for my God.

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  3. As someone who concluded "the church" was never going to change in my lifetime, I would recommend this to someone in your position: It is past time for a reckoning; it is time for enough to finally be enough. White Christians with a conscience must unite in rejecting what is broken and indefensibly immoral about white Christian culture in America, musical instruments, full immersion, and/or grace v. acts be damned.

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  4. Boy, this is a tough post to read. It’s like talking to a friend who has been cheated on by a partner. The possible loss of your spiritual family and community must be frightening and disorienting. It’s hard to speak to this without being a religious person, or understanding the role a church community serves for a person. I’m pretty sure that the church, whichever denomination is not the important thing. As a matter of fact, it’s beside the point. The concepts that the organization supposedly represents are what’s of importance. Any organization tends to drift away from the tenets as they age and grow. That’s what the Protestant reformation was about. It would not be a surprise that a denomination that sprouted from that protest, would in turn go down a blind alley of their own. You could argue that members of your church have a duty, the highest duty, to disavow and separate from their wayward church. In a sense you have to be true to your beliefs, not your church if you feel it has lost its way. It’s a horrible decision to have to face. I don’t envy you. Good luck.

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