It was a catchy title, so of course I clicked over to see why this writer was saying it sucked to be a Christian these days.
And in the article, did he tell stories of persecution, or his family being imprisoned, or perhaps, his house burned to the ground?
Let me attempt to sum up his problem – he doesn’t seem to fit in at his local church.
I can’t help but contrast him with my Aunt Jeanne Marie and Uncle Eugene, who, at 89, are living out the last of their years with the same positive outlook I’ve witnessed all my life.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard either one of them complain. About aging, money, the church – well, maybe a little politics here and there, but that’s it.
Having spent most of their youth on the mission field with the Presbyterian Church, Uncle Eugene never felt led to be a pastor. So when they came back to the states, they settled in Daly City, California and Uncle Eugene entered the business world.
They didn’t spend a lot of time looking for a church to meet their needs. They did what they’d always done; they became members of the Presbyterian Church closest to their home. Aunt Jeanne Marie joined a women’s circle. She took courses in how to minister to those facing death. She served in hospitality, and visited folks in the hospital.
On my many trips to their home, I was often taken back at how my conservative aunt and uncle functioned so well within such a liberal church. But it didn’t take me long to realize, they went to serve, and not be served.
I love my church. And I’d be the first to admit, it’s flawed. And if I look in the corners, I can see the hypocrisy, the fakes, and the insincere. But then, if I look in the corners of my own heart, I see those very same things in myself.
But when I focus on serving, I see my church differently. Or maybe I don’t have the time to check all those dirty corners.
So maybe the advice my friend Vonda Skelton gave me would work for this lost writer – offer grace, grace, grace.
Then shake the dust off your feet and go serve.
We’re all getting older. And at my age, I would have thought my corners would be cleaner than they are. But they’re not. So if you see them, let’s make a deal, I’ll offer you grace, grace, grace, if you’ll do the same for me.
Then we’ll all have a better perspective on the church.