25.11.04

Letter: To those who struggle with the current state of the church, especially evangelicals.

I know you struggle with many of the same things I do in regards to church. I have found the being so seperated from all of those things which frustrate me, and make me angry, in evangelicalism, and its attendant organizations, has allowed me to take a definitely needed step back. From this step back, I have realized many things; most of them are self-condemning, not in a bad way, but in that I have made many mistakes.

I have allowed myself to become so critical and so cynical that I search for the bad without thought; I often do not give people the benefit of the doubt, or act in love as I should. I also have continually fought a losing battle with hope; that is, I have many times, and in many ways, lost hope. I have become lazy. I see problems, and though blessed with intelligence, education, opportunity, all in an abundance which most of the world does not have, I do next to nothing. I have long thought that no one could blame me for these faults, and perhaps no one can, but I cannot defend them or justify them to myself or to God.

I no longer think there is anything wrong with backing off. There is no point in beating your head against a brick wall because you can no longer see that it may be possible to move over, around, under or through it. Taking a step back allows for recuperation to my damaged head, concussions just aren't good :), as well as new perspective on the problems.

You and I are not even close to being alone in our frustrations. I have been quite arrogant in many ways. I viewed my evironment as an exception. Could I be blamed for that either? consider my experience (if you can), what I know of other churches, tv evangelists, etc. etc. Perhaps here to, it is understandable that I make such a mistake. But it is not justifialbe either. I am far from being a member of 'the few' even if people who are moving in this area are the minority.

It is high time I allowed myself to make a positive contribution somewhere, and as always, I must start with myself. You cannot give what you don't have, you can't be what you aren't, we all produce fruit in keeping with our nature. It is from inside a mans heart that words come out of his mouth. This is another mistake I have made; seeing a mistake does not necessitate immediate action, or else I may do as much or more damage than the mistake I am trying to fix. First remove the log from your own eye, then you will see to remove the speck from your brothers. I am not wise. I do not know what to do about many things that I have been blessed, or cursed, with being able to percieve. This is just another version of pushing ahead, failing to admit you are wrong, in a course of action which has already been proven a failure. He is a fool who thinks he can fix a problem by doing the same things twice as hard, and I have indeed been a fool.

I am called to have faith in Jesus Christ, to love my neighbor as myself, to live a life that allows me to truly be an ambassador for Jesus, to walk as He walked. If I am unsure of all this involves, and I am definitely unsure, then that does not mean I can stop, but it does not mean I can rush forward either.

Perhaps you, who struggle with these frustrations, can learn from my mistakes. Perhaps simply knowing you are not the only one is enough. In any case, learn from my failures, as vague and unspecific as I have left them. Do not become another burnt out, beaten up, Christian because you couldn't back up and fall into the arms of the Lord. Don't lose your love, don't lose your hope, and don't lose your faith.

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