Chatting with someone today I realised again my love-hate relationship with the Church – i.e. not just a specific local body, but rather the broader organism that spans the globe.
I am often quite disillusioned about this organisation’ presence in the world – by this terminology switch I’m distinguishing between the living body of people doing their best to follow Jesus (organism) and the religious institution (organisation). Incredibly valuable time is wasted in internal bickering, politics and general nastiness. I have been on the receiving end of much of this as I have pursued my own desire to see genuine community, truthful enquiry, and a witness untainted by internal bias and hatred. I have also spent a lot of time with many others who have been badly hurt by the organisation and it’s fractured personality. Sadly, and I have to be nakedly truthful here, I have also been firmly on the giving side. Using either my title, my perceived power over others, or mostly my own inadequacies to hurt others in a place where so many have come desperately hoping for welcome, healing and love. It is a sobering reality to face oneself as part of the problem, not safely and self-righteously on the side of good. So much of what is worst in our human race can be seen manifesting in this organisation’s behaviour.
I find the church-gathered to be more often self-seeking, apathetic, navel gazing! The church-scattered has a flavour to it that I still find curiously irresistible.
And so, back to my conversation this morning. The person with whom I was talking spoke about a plan for vulnerable members of their church community – a simple grocery buying service for widows and older people. Not only this, but this church was then bearing the cost of these groceries. That gets me, as they say, ‘right in the feels’. So, I am reminded that it is possible for this organisation to still be the organism, as it takes on self-sacrificial giving and serving to those who need it the most.
That’s an organism I am ready to be a part of. I could totally ditch the organisation….