Not Much Has Changed

IMG_0044A year ago today, I wrote about my messy relationship with church here:  http://melodyreid.com/2015/05/02/i-have-a-messy-r…ship-with-church/

Today, when my TimeHop app reminded me about the post, I re-read it and realized that not much has changed. I still have a messy relationship with church. I still don’t have a church home. I don’t have a church community. I don’t have a  place that I look forward to going on Sundays. Every Sunday morning, I feel the tension of “what will we do today about the church issue?” When we’re out of town, it feels good to not have to make a decision. When Will’s not here for some reason, I don’t even consider making a decision. I just stay home.

The part about not wanting to be mad anymore… I confess that I still feel mad. Why does church have to be the way it is? Why is it white and affluent and “contemporary”? Why does it not look like I think Jesus would want it to look? I want leaders who are real and authentic and vulnerable and inclusive. I want community that is transparent and searching and wants to study and learn and grown.

Sometimes I think I want the impossible. Is it just me?

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10 thoughts on “Not Much Has Changed

  1. David Dixon says:

    Mel, your heartfelt note struck me today. I wanted to share a treatise on the subject, but quickly realized that it would cause more pain than it would ease.

    Bonnie and I have talked about these ideas many times as we have watched people come and go from FPC searching for something.

    At the end of the day, we rest in the sure knowledge that God speaks to us where we are – if we’re rightly tuned in….and that Jesus is the head of the church, not the humans that lead the ministries. We are inspired by those who heed the call to ministry, but we don’t place them on par with Christ, nor expect too much from them… “real, authentic, vulnerable and inclusive” leaders are messy people just like we are – they will eventually disappoint us.

    It would be great sometime to sit quietly for a couple of hours and talk about some of this.

    David

  2. melodyreid says:

    David,
    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response. My feelings about church, as messy as they are, are not exclusive to FPC. Unfortunately, they go way back. I totally agree that real, authentic, vulnerable and inclusive leaders are messy and will disappoint. I’m thankful too that our hope is is Jesus. I just wish the church, His institution, looked more like Him overall. I think it was Bill Hybels who talked about feeling “a holy discontent”. That describes how I feel. I long for it to look differently. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
    Love,
    Melody

  3. Mary Mogusu says:

    I, too, have felt so many emotions about the church. It hurts so much sometimes. Other times, the beautiful bride has loved me so well. Both circumstances have taught me so much. My biggest thought in response to both of your posts is that whatever church you’re called to would look more like Jesus with you in it, than without you. She needs you. Every joint supplies. You are very gifted, needed and unique. I’d love it if we were close enough for you to come to my church. I love you and pray that you’ll find a safe haven for your soul and spirit.

  4. melodyreid says:

    Mary,
    What a lovely though, and just exactly what I needed to hear today. It is easy for us to tell others that truth, but difficult to receive it ourselves. “Every joint supplies.” I love that verbiage. I love you too and also wish we were closer for many reasons! Hug those babies!
    Melody

  5. Julie Brown says:

    I remember a sermon given by my mother’s ARP minister brother that was akin to “don’t ask what your [country/church] can do for you but what you can do for your… You get the gist. I believe that a church that is focused on the biblical teachings can provide fertile soil for Christian growth regardless of whether contemporary, traditional, led by the perfect pastor or not. I talk to people often who are trying to find the perfect church. We are sinner,:members, clergy, volunteers, parents, etc so our worldly church will also be so. Unless I feel that my church is not aligned with biblical teachings, I will try to make it the place I want it to be.

  6. melodyreid says:

    Julie,
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I remember someone telling me once, “The perfect church is only perfect until you get there, since you’re not perfect.” So true, right? Thanks again for your comments!
    Melody

  7. Richy Milligan says:

    Hello Melody,
    Read your post and was inspired to respond. You articulated how many people probably feel about the church. Unfortunately, we will never escape that little bit of Adam we all have in all of us. Sometimes we (the Church) are our worst enemy. We don’t smile; we are not friendly; we are not welcoming; our Sunday School class is clickish; I could go on and on. While we have many problems in the church, none of them are new: “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory”; “before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times”. Melody, these guys lived with Jesus for three years and still didn’t “get it”! We have the advantage of knowing the end of the story….Jesus Wins!!…and “we” still don’t get it. The beauty is that He still loves us. He knows our short comings, however, is pleased when that little bit of faith shines as small as a mustard seed. That’s us….undeserving and yet loved; a love paid by the ultimate price of the precious blood of God’s own Son. For that, I go to church. I want to learn more about the scriptures, shepherding , equipping , empowering and serving. Don’t beat yourself up about your feelings. Consider leaving them at the foot of th alter, knowing the church’s many flaws and maybe try church again for the first time! ???

    • melodyreid says:

      Thank you, Richie for taking the time to respond. I love what you said about the disciples “not getting it” even though they were living it with Jesus. I appreciate your thoughts and you taking the time to comment.
      With kindness,
      Melody

  8. Dale Y says:

    A mutual friend shared your blogpost with me. I sooo resonate. I love church people, but the “system” is a mess.

    It made me think of this video. I thought you’d like it; it’s called, “I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY

    It’s risky business, what you want, but it’s exactly what we should ALL be aiming for – real, transparent, authentic, masks-off, souls-bared, no faking it, walking with Jesus with others who are walking with Jesus, and to heck with the corporate, organizational, man-made, keep-all-the-plates spinning model.

    Peace

    • melodyreid says:

      Dale, I really appreciate your thoughts. It is risky business indeed. I do love church people. But the system does seem to be broken, like many other systems in our society. I’ll take a look at the video and thanks for sending! Love, Melody

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