Saturday, August 26, 2006

Church Walls Go Both Ways

This reader struck a chord when she wrote of growing up outside of organized religion:

I finished the book this past weekend.
Finished it with tears of joy in my eyes!
Thank you for your depth, your questioning,
your communications from the soul!

Growing up outside any organized religion,
an outcast from that inclusionary world,
I felt every pump of your legs on the journey...
felt every shoulder with no room...
every heart that reached out...
and every heart that closed its door.

Until I finished the ride with you,
I had underestimated you, just because
of your connection to the church. Shame on me!
Thank you for the connection, the awakening, and the ride!

And this one struck a chord when she wrote as a member of a church:

It is essential as a Christian that I comment on your behavior. When do you think you will ever find a "perfect" church to worship at? The church is a human organization for worshiping and serving God "as we understand Him". What a tragic image, your wife and kids going off to church as they see you balk at one issue not treated by the church as you feel it should.. Such a poor example for them to see their dad pouting over one issue because it isn't they way he thinks it should be. The church is struggling with this as well as other issues, so why throw the baby out with the bath water. Come on Lars, you will never find perfection in the church so quit pouting and be a part of it, working toward change. I love you all but feel very badly for Anne and the kids.

Early church father Irenaeus wrote, "The Glory of God is Humanity Fully Alive." If church is supposed to help us live a more fully human life, why does it more often seem to create barriers?

These are both beautiful and honest and caring reviews of my book (my life). These readers make me think again about how church walls separate us, no matter what side we're on. Church membership can foster either trust or mistrust. Sometimes the church wall makes it harder, rather than easier, to be "Fully Alive."

Thanks for sharing thoughts

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