Thursday, 10 December 2009

Two things

I met with someone yesterday who I wanted some advice from in regard to my future.

We were chatting about church and he then told me a story about his uncle.

His uncle was a committed follower of Jesus who, when he was 18 years old, used to open air preach. He then got his girlfriend pregnant and the church they were both a part of threw them out. This was just before the second World War. He went to war and when he returned his faith had completely gone. The biggest reason for this being the way the church had treated him and his girlfriend.
Today this kind of reaction still happens where people in church speak condemnation and judgement over other Christians rather than speaking out love and grace.

S**t happens. The church needs to accept that.

Rather than tell people they've fallen into sin and bring judgement over them, we should be a community that seeks ways in which we can help bring healing, wholeness and love from the reality of our human experience.

What if the church had said to this uncle 'WOW! You're bringing new life into the world. How beautiful. Let's explore together how we can enable this child to best grow in the love and beauty of God and how as a couple you can discover the very best that God has for you.' I think just maybe the future may have been very different.


John Colwell, one of my lecturers from college (who is now Pastor of Budleigh Salterton Baptist Church) has written a book called 'Why Have You Forsaken Me?'

I'm looking forward to reading it. Should be out in a week or so.


Penny said...


This story is all too familiar.

It is so disappointing to see how many churches preach forgiveness but do not practice it when it comes to their own members.

Julie said...

I had a plumber tell me of how disgusted he was about a church who did a similar thing to one of their deacons who had found love after being widowed but the church found their were sleeping together so threw them both out of the church - 'What sort of church does that?' he asked me....

Joe Haward said...

Julie and Penny - Why is the church like that? Why are these such familiar stories? I'd like to know what you and other people think.

It is so so sad.
And will that plumber ever think about exploring who Jesus is because of his impression of the church?

I believe the church often does amazing and great things for people and communities, but we can so often hurt those who are a part of the church community. Things have to change...

Tim said...

I think it is sad that Churches do this sort of graceless thing.
I am greatful for the Church that accepted my wife and I with our son who was born before we were married - and we were not yet Christians at the time!

There are plenty of churches that exude grace and look for the grace of God in anothers life to welcome rather than pick over the failings and faults as the graceless Churches do.

What we have to watch out for is the grace-killing actions and attitudes that can easily sneek in or we too can become grace killers.
The only antitdote to gracelessness is grace. Be gracious to one another.

Joe Haward said...

Glad you have had such a good experience Tim. It is really good to hear.

You are right. We must always be a people of grace. What a beautiful thing grace is.