One of the most popular posts on this blog is titled, “Religionless Christianity: Finding God Outside the Institutional Church.” Many of the hits on that particular post are the result of people searching the web using these kinds of search criteria; “Leaving Christian religion finding God”, “Christianity outside the church,” and “finding God without a church.” This tells me that many people out there are searching for something.
Over the past year, I have met an increasing number of individuals who are saying “yes” to God but “no” to the church. Yesterday I got into an online discussion with my 33 year old cousin, Jack. Since I am ten years older than Jack and went off to college when he was only eight, we were never really close. However, through the magic of Facebook, Jack and I have gotten to know each other a bit more over the last year. His facebook posts are often a bit nutty, on the edge of sanity, but lately shockingly profound. Last night Jack blew me away with the following comments which he agreed that I could post on my blog.
After reading my post, “Handouts Do Not Equal Social Justice,” my friend Billy shared on Facebook that he dislikes my blog because I am often critical toward the church. This post is dedicated to Billy.
I could not sleep on Wednesday night and was up facebooking with Billy about why I am critical of the church. The main reason is that I see so much suffering and in the midst of it all the church seems so apathetic. I was having a little pity party via Facebook because no one responded to my post about my friend Al, which may or may not have been a bright idea. However, as I have shared in the past, I believe lament is a perfectly acceptable form of communication with God.
If I were a psalmist, my lament would have sounded something like this “Lord, why have you abandoned me? My brother is Christ is attacking me! People are starving all around me. Your body lies asleep in its crystal palace while your children cry out in the desert. Lord, where are you in my time of need?” Some may see the sharing of frustration with God as a lack of faith but others of you will find my willingness to be honest about the hard places of faith as refreshing. If you are the former, please refrain from preaching to me about waiting on God. You needn’t worry about me. The Holy Spirit has a way of slapping me upside the head without any commentary from human observers.