Thanks to those of you who have responded either in comments on various posts, or in personal emails about your weariness: weary of culture wars, weary of gender wars, weary of denominatioal wars… just weary. Heartsick. Soul sick. Bone-tired, don't-know-what-to-do, can't-face-another-day weary.
Weary… as Christians.
We are feeling like aliens in our faith communities for whatever reason. One feels alienated because he is gay, and pictures went up all over the internet yeseterday of obese pastors devouring chicken (ummm… gluttony? Or is this not the time to point that out?). With captions reading "We believe in a biblical definition of marriage!"… thus, as a gay person, he's being sent a powerful message: You don't belong here unless you embrace our ways. That's rough.
The conservative feels alienated because she feels her definition of biblical marriage is being railroaded, and she can't share that belief in public without recrimination. She does so anyway out of honest devotion to Jesus, but encounters people hurt by her beliefs but it's perceived as "persecution".
Some men are weary because they see women as their equals, treat them as such, love them as Christ would, but get pounded on by fellow believing males who declare their wives ought to be subject to them. Other men feel berated because they do practice male headship, and they feel their way of life is being stomped on.
Singles in evangelical culture are still trying to find a place in the family, because many still teach that family comes from 1man + 1 woman (not just marriage… family). Celibacy is rarely talked about, preached about even less. It's all about marriage and nuclear family. Singles speak up, singles are told to be silent (until they know better in the confines of marriage). Marriage, after all, is the highest form of human relationship a person can other than human + Christ, don't you know? So until singles experience that, the message is: You have been chosen to sacrifice that intimacy for life. Consider it a blessing. Sigh…
Those who like Rob Bell can't utter a word because they'll be slandered and disgraced as much as he has been. They've received emails, phone messages, and had face-to-face conversations about they themselves are going to the lake of eternal fire for daring to even read such tripe. Those who preach against Bell are glorified. Conversely, those who like John Piper argue the same.
There it is. That word.
On the other side.
Why do we have so many sides?
Not only that but why do we have so many sides that are killing the spirits of the others?
In the meantime, we still have our outreaches… our missions trips… our projects in desparate countries… declaring we are still fulfilling so form of the Great Commission while dealing with our own warts.
Are we really dealing with things?
How much of that chicken-shoving from yesterday really spoke to those around the world who went to bed with nothing? (no sarcasm here… I'm really asking) I'm not referring to those who went to any fast food place for a single meal (whatever your personal reasons were). I'm referring more to those believers who special ordered all they could and chowed down.
Is anyone else tired of it all?
This isn't the Christianity I signed up for. This isn't the Christ I committed myself to.
I get that community is messy — sewer-style-messy. Some days, it stinks.
I get that people have opposing opinions.
I get that people are always struggling to learn how to share those opinions with each other.
How can we be more imaginative about building a kingdom together? Where did our imaginations go? Why are we so eager to shine the pearliest, calling it bibical, to prove a point? Been there. Been guilty of that too many-a-time.
When my friends tell me that they will never darken the doorway of church again for fear of being beaten up, I'm sad but I don't blame them. In fact, I must admit that I am really ready to join them. I've had enough. Just like the person who perhaps is a little more conservative that I am has had enough, and just wants the Body to get along; just like the person who is a little more liberal than I am wants the Body to get along; just like the person who's in the middle of a faith crisis wants people to get along so they know they have a family to go to that's safe. Many of us have had enough!
But being right is more important than being on a journey with Christ it seems.
One girl said it quite eloquently to me this morning: "I shouldn't be forced to choose who to love and who not to love. In fact, I've been led to believe that I am supposed to love everyone. So why are Christian adults shooting arrows at me for loving people? It sucks."
But good things are worth fighting for, I suppose. The Bride of Christ being one of them.
How do we overcome the culture wars?
How do we stop killing ourselves, cutting ourselves, beating ourselves, or alienating ourselves?
How do we recapture that Christlike imagination for His kingdom on earth so that his will be done?
I throw those questions out into the ether knowing a million responses could return — or none.
I, for one, have no idea how the wars will cease.