Fill me up, Lord

"You will seek me, & find me when you seek me w/ all your heart," God says. But that is not the whole story. I'm not just a searcher. I'm also a hider. You too. We have to come face-to-face w/ our tendency to hide, to get lost. ~John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Witch Doctors & Church feuding

Tomorrow, slavery starts again. I am actually looking forward to it, and feel very ready for the year.

Saturday, I went to a witch doctor. I was scared out of my mind to go, but he turned out to be a very short Jewish guy. Seriously...The shortest guy I've ever met in my life. I am glad that he is Jewish. I kind of think Jewish doctors are good luck..., well, not good luck, but I think it's just better that way. Although I did have a Jewish dentist, and that didn't work out so well....

Tuesday I get to find out if I have tumors. I really probably don't, I just like to say that to freak people out. It's weird 4 out of 6 of us in small group have medical things going on.

Church is very weird right now. It's very uncomfortable. They keep hauling in all these "church experts", but they are not really getting at the issue. Reconciliation is unlikely at this point. These experts really have no idea as to what is going on, or at least they are just blindly taking the side of the pastor. Seeing Christians in improperly handled conflict with each other is just disgusting. Seeing grown men and women I have grown up with (my parents age), looked up to & respected, crying, shouting at each other, and just being so, I don't know. It really breaks my heart to see my family go through that. I never thought it would happen to us. Our pastor calls that "church pride", and that is what it is.

I joke about it a lot, but really, it's just a cover up for the fear & hurt I have. But God is in control. I just really thought reconciliation could happen. I thought people could make changes within in the church. But they are just leaving, so hurt, some attend other churches, others have started their own. It is nauseous. All I can do is continue praying.

At first this conflict really revved me up to seeing how important it is to be a member of one's church that they attend and support financially. I wanted to have a voice that actually mattered in church matters. But now, I don't really know. Do I even want an association with this place? Can I still go to a place of worship where I am not really sure that I trust the integrity of the leadership? And isn't that interesting.... I love the teaching.... But the values & integrity, is questionable. (meaning I truly don't know.. Only God knows.)

At one point during this crisis, I received a letter from past board members, affirming a certain side of this issue. I then was reading in scripture about how we should honor & respect the wisdom of those who are our "elders". So I thought, well that's my sign... I am putting it in God's hand.

But now I see men who I think ARE full of integrity leaving... And I don't know what to think.

I sort of want to stop going until this smoothes over a bit. So far we have had 2 pastors leave, 1 elder, and 1 secretary.

I might erase this post, I don't know.

This is the church I was dedicated at, grew up at, and one day dreamed of getting married there... (despite there not being a middle aisle -grrr)...

But, you don't become part of a Christian community for those above reasons. Right now the worship service seems so hollow & empty (not attendance wise), but God IS there. It's depressing to go. I hear they might not even hire another worship pastor for another year. I don't think I can take another year of this. I've heard downstairs at the sinner service, things are better, but I wonder how long that will last, as that assistant pastor has left now too.

But, those pastors are not the church, and I think people are forgetting that, but it feels like they are the church, as worship is at the fore-front of our services.

NOTE: this is just my opinion and thoughts, and they are likely to change at any moment; I am not trying to bash individuals -I can't TELL you how many times I have edited this account, and probably will continue to do so

I don't really want advice on how to handle it.

9 Comments:

  • At 5:57 PM, August 21, 2006, Blogger nyukers said…

    if you can go to church and separate the politics from the teachings--then by all means stay at this church--if you can't--you may want to switch.

    The reasons you mention are the reasons I don't belong to any organized religion and have probably put a strain on my faith as well.

     
  • At 1:09 AM, August 22, 2006, Anonymous Seeker said…

    Heavy questions on the church and only you know what is right for you. Good luck. I've had some bad doctors, but I don't think I've ever in my experience with doctors had a Witch Doctor. I don't even know what one is.

     
  • At 4:29 PM, August 22, 2006, Blogger Posh Lady said…

    I'm so sorry to hear about this! I didn't even know your church was going through issues - I'll be praying for you. :)

     
  • At 10:37 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Helper Lady said…

    Online Christian Leadership magazine addresses this issue. Personally, when ever you begin to feel bad about this, use it as a reminder to pray for the leaders....all of them. God can change hearts, minds and whatever even when we can't. We know that, but fear takes over sometimes. Pray for the leaders' spouses as well.

     
  • At 9:59 AM, August 25, 2006, Blogger Literacygirl said…

    Thank you "Helper Lady", I have a distinct feeling you may be a very special relative from the 10,000 lakes....

    anyway! She is right! leadershipjournal.net has 3 great articles:

    HURRIEDNESS (by my guru John Ortberg)
    Supporting Your Leadership When You Don't Agree
    Organizational Pain

    It's an off-branch of Christianity Today. I get so stuck at that site, there is so much to read! I was especially looking at the book DEAR CHURCH by Sarah Cunningham. I must put this on my amazon wish list. It looks good, and several people have blogged on it.

     
  • At 10:19 PM, August 25, 2006, Blogger nyukers said…

    Ok--I forgot to ask--what exactly is a witch doctor and what did you see them for??????????????????

     
  • At 6:02 PM, August 27, 2006, Blogger Catherine said…

    Church crap - boy, have I been there. I have a lot I thought I'd say but I'm not sure if it would be considered "advice" or not...

     
  • At 12:19 PM, August 28, 2006, Blogger Catherine said…

    Ok, since you asked:

    1. If it wasn't this church, it would be another church. I say, stick it out and work through the disallusionment process.

    2. I know what you mean about integrity and stuff. Its hard to see people you really respect or have learned from making mistakes or wrong choices. But -- its worth remembering that that's how it is, literaly and truly. Every person that God uses is far from perfect. The shock isn't that they/we mess up in major ways or have huge blind spots; the shock is that somehow God uses them/us to touch peoples lives anyway. We're all on the same playing field.

    Sorry that my opinions sound so much like advice! But you asked! :)

    Catherine Cousin Milk Mamma McNiel

     
  • At 9:17 PM, August 29, 2006, Anonymous map in plano said…

    I find it mind boggling how churches can become so bent on expanding they alienate the neighborhoods surrounding them. I've been at a church that has been through this exact type of thing.
    Here are some sites that reference the feuding. You'll find that the issues are very similar.

    http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A80436

    http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2004/11/22/daily16.html

    Personally, I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. It was more about increasing the membership numbers (i.e. a potential "sale" would be lost if there were no parking spot available) than anything else.

    I left that church partially because of this, but my pastor was no where near as good as your pastor C.

    Question - Whose idea was this anyway?

     

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