Wow…it has been a long time since I wrote. I guess it is testimony to the season of my life.
Yesterday a man came into the store. He has bought a lot of knives from us and we always spend a bunch of time talking. Mostly knives. Yesterday, we talked life. We shared our stories.
He is a college president. He doesn’t have much of a faith, but seems to be genuinely seeking God.
He asked my story. I told him my knife story. He asked about why I moved to Oregon. So I told him my pastor story.
I talked about my calling. We talked about the difference between rules, religion and following Jesus. Then I got to the part of my story about Singing Hills. I had to tell him how they invited me to Oregon, treated me very badly, then very unceremoniously fired me, having begun searching for my replacement just weeks after Wendy’s last surgery.
“Typical church,” was his response.
I wanted to scream, “It is not!” but I couldn’t. There are far too many of these mean, little churches. The Kingdom is so poorly represented by the petty “church” politics.
I honestly don’t know the pressures the elders did or did not feel from the congregation. I don’t know their thought processes. I don’t know how much they prayed.
What I do know is that the story of Singing Hills–especially as it intersects with my story is a terrible witness to the God who so loved the world. I wonder how many of these bloody intersections in people’s stories it takes before Jesus removes the lampstand from a local church.
If people in the world we are trying to reach–if people in the world for whom Christ died keep hearing the ugly stories about the church, why would they want to be a part?
The Church is the bride of Christ. She is beautiful and she has a beautiful story. Jesus died to make her story beautiful.
Please tell beautiful stories about the Bride. More importantly, inasmuch as you are a part of the Church, make your life write beautiful stories about the Bride.
An old tradition in church worship services was to ask people to share their stories about how God was interacting in their lives. They did so by asking, “Can I get a witness?”
So Church, I am asking, “Can I get a witness?”