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?'
'In this powerful book on the experience of desolation John Colwell focuses on Psalm 22, read in the light of his own struggle with bi-polar disorder and the Christian belief that God the Son suffered in his humanity, to offer existential-theological reflections on the experience of God-forsakenness.'
I'm looking forward to reading it. Should be out in a week or so.