I was having lunch today with a guy I have met through business. I don't really know him much except we have had a couple of phone exchanges about job stuff, but during each call some reason the topic of "church" comes up. He is struggling with the internal crap that is going on in his church, a First Baptist church of a small town, and what his response to all of this should be. He is a deacon in this church, with all the legalism that entails - and he isn't liking it. It being the politics. He hasn't come right and and said this - but he is questioning whether the actions of the church (they don't like their pastor(s) and have tried to remove them and this church has split once already and know one is coming anymore and they want to vote on this and that and .....) Whew! I can see he is in some pain over this. It is odd he has picked me to talk to about it because he has no idea who I am or my feelings on this stuff. I talk to him about the difference in "churchianity v christianity", in how churches have taken to following Paul (which is why many churches are dysfunctional)more than they follow Jesus. And how in recent years I have rejected much of the bullshit in my own denomination, and many others that are hung up with processes and programs. He is listening with deep interest and saying, "hell, I thought I was all alone in questioning this shit". I said nope, there are lots of us out here.
This man is on a journey.He is becoming a seeker. I can see the questioning beginning which is a first step to getting healthy. He said he doesn't even know if going to church is important anymore. It may not be if its not healthy. What's the point anyway if the focus is on the "church" itself and not those it serves. This shouldn't be a revelation to anyone - but somehow along the years we have distorted what church is. Crazy.
I also get a call this week fishing around to see if I would be interested in a Youth Pastor position at my church. Yes, the same church I tried to inform 3 years ago when they were looking the last time and now they are doing it all over again since it has fallen apart. I said are you crazy? and they responded with "well I know it probably wouldn't work since you aren't a yes man and butt heads with the Sr. Pastor already". Damn right. But, secretly, I would love to do that. Ministry is my passion. Even with all its crap - I still feel called to be a Pastor. I remember hearing once that God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Its a curse. I love Michael Yaconneli's description in "Messy Spirituality" of his struggles with his own feelings of inadequacy and illegitimacy since he wasn't officially a seminary graduate nor was he officially ordained anywhere most of his life. But God called Bullshit on that. He has reached more people with his authenticity than all the seminary graduated PhDs and their qualifications that I have ran into. Amazing. God can where people can't. What a concept.
So I hope this fellow listens to that inner voice that is telling him there is a better way. A better path. He is becoming one of us. A seeker.