Monday, March 03, 2008

When a hand of the Body is smackin' yer face. . .

I was talking with a friend and, earlier this week, with another woman who was hurt by her church. I've walked that walk myself. We all have walked it out with the attitude of forgiveness--understanding that all people are flawed and human and we all seem content at times to stay quiet in that loving place.

However, Jesus got a tad bit riled up a time or two himself, and he had no qualms about speaking the Truth to people who have erred.

Somehow, we always seem to be presented with the same situations over and over again. Why? What are we supposed to do when we hit that brick wall again and again?

What's the definition of insanity? ;-D

I think that it's good to forgive. I think it's good to have patience. I think it's very nice to sacrifice our own feelings if our family, husband, wife, or friends, etc., are all enjoying the experience--in fact, GROWING in the very same church experience that might be hurting us and others.

I don't think it's okay to keep hurting.

I think that we have to walk in the Truth and stop being doormats for the Body. God loves us to serve, like Jesus served, and to be loving and loved, but surely He doesn't want us to be hurt repeatedly.

Therein lies the thing: if we keep walkin' it over and over, what does that mean?

It can mean one of two things:

Maybe WE need to change our actions. Perhaps it is OUR behavior that is causing us to be hurt in the church situation. Is it pride? Is it selfishness or ego? We have to consider this. Then, we have to get right with ourselves and tell it like it is--change our way--being kind to ourselves in the process.


If we truly know that it is the church's wrong way of treating folks that is the problem, maybe it means we're supposed to be loving reminders and perhaps, if need be, correctors. There is nothing wrong with stepping up and naming the elephant in the middle of the room. Tell it--kindly and firmly--but tell it if it needs to be told.

Doing so may take more love, wisdom, and guts than sitting back and trying to bite our tongues.
Afraid of being labeled a troublemaker? Hm. Get over it. What crucified fellow was also labeled as such? Speak the Truth, walk the Truth, humbly, kindly, honestly, firmly.

I think we have a responsibility to do so.

Jesus, for all His humility and lovingness, certainly wasn't a pushover. We don't have to be, either.


bjk said...


Kansas Bob said...

I agree with this great post Karen. I might add one thing to it.. something it took me years to learn.. I don't have to stay in a church that doesn't want my input.. cloaking my refusal to leave as "being faithful". Church loyalty is not the same a faithfulness. We can be faithful and leave a church (quietly or not) because faithfulness is all about being faithful to God.

karen said...

Thanks becky!
KB, thanks, but this wasn't about staying or leaving. It's about discovering the truth about the problem--whether it comes from within, or without.

Milly said...

It's hard to leave, it's when it is harder to stay is when you know you have to go.

Don R said...

You know, my story never involved being repeatedly hurt by a body. In fact, I can remember that happening only once, long ago. Mine was more finding out I had little in common with those I worshipped with. I felt I was heading in a entirely different direction from those with which I had contact.

karen said...

Since I was talking mostly to women, I think this is more often a woman thing--lack of interest in what a woman can bring to the table.
Like KB says, you can leave a church without leaving God. I think it's always a good idea to say WHY you're leaving.
I think all organizations whether church or secular, have this problem--it's just that you don't think a church should be harming.
Milly, I can't quite make out what you're saying--can you elaborate?

Pat said...

You are often one to help me sort through things. I have had a difficult morning trying to look objectively at my part in not completely leaving, but lessening relationships over the years. Is it that I always have to have it my way, or that I'm being moved in a different direction like Don said? I take the latter and reject guilt while staying open for the Spirit to offer correction.

karen said...

Pat, very often we just move into a new season; new ideas, growth and direction that don't mesh with some of our relationships.
Do we leave or lessen relationships because of pride or calling? Depends on the situation, I imagine. I think we'll keep what is important to the journey.
I see you as a dynamic, outside of the box thinker, mover and shaker. Rock on!

... Paige said...

super post!

Missy said...

Well, what d'ya know! Just did this, on a blog not a church, but same environment in many ways. Everyone wants to talk and correct about theology, but simple inhumane treatment is tolerated. Still not sure if it was right, but I know it was from the right place. It was not out of hate or desire to defend myself, but to point out an obvious bigotry everyone was simply willing to ignore. I am still struggling with feeling self-righteous about standing up. I don't like that part of it, but that's my issue, it does not negate the need for action. Even so, this is probably my biggest reason for failing to stand up when I should - someone will think I am being self-righteous and point out my flaws (which they usually will).

For the most part, Karen, I agree with you. I live my life in the church by these principles, depending on my brothers and sisters to gently correct me and always encourage me. Yet, I also know when it becomes routine or more "doctrine" than simply a loving response in friendship, it can also become legalistic and self-righteous.

What I had to do this week was with a virtual stranger. But it was done in an audience of many I have come to care for. I worry about where my heart goes with this, because I do believe that this type of correction is best left in relationships where humility is exercised a little more frequently.

On a related note:
There was a special on last night on CBS, I think, where hidden cameras taped passerby's reactions to teenagers (actors) beating a homeless person (actor). I was very pleased to see that in every occasion, people quickly put themselves in harms way to stop these boys and help this person. They filmed different scenarios, and in the scenarios with more dangerous peril to the passerby - where the boys actually had weapons - they were even quicker and more fearless in reaction. I was feeling good about humanity watching this!

codepoke said...

Amen, Karen.

Acting for truth is a good thing. It's complex, but it's right.

(Cool CBS story, Milly.)

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Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, just dropping by to say I'm reading... and hello.

Chad (Fisherman)

karen said...

Thanks, Paige
Thanks, missy, and good stuff!
CP...thanks,'s complex
crescenet...thanks for stopping by!
Chad..thanks for dropping by. you're missed in blogworld! (and by me!)