I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from blogging. I’m just growing tired of the whole social media thing. Life has just been very busy but I’ve also been frustrated and I don’t like to blog from a point of frustration, if I can help it. If you have been following the news at all, you know World Vision has been front and center with their monumental announcement and then their even more monumental reversal of their decision. In some of the reports, it was shared that their board members and leadership had prayed for years regarding their decision and were confident this was the direction that God was leading them. They reversed their decision (and even apologized and asked for forgiveness) in like less than 48 hours. I can’t help but wonder, was it the gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit or the megaphones of the almighty dollar that was the true catalyst in this heartbreaking event. And what is more troubling, is those in need of help are the ones who suffered and lost the most. Children and families in need of the love and support of Christ, through those who call themselves followers of Christ and members of the church, are the ones who are the true victims.
Let that sink in.
I’ll bet that the children who now do not have food to eat, those who were “sacked” at school and sent home because their school fees were not paid, could care less about how an organization that they have no concept of, in a world they don’t even know how to dream about, defines marriage. Those children probably have no concept of marriage because they may not even know their father or one of their parents might have left years ago in search of work or perhaps they are being raised by grandparents because their parents died. Is a definition of marriage really important to those children? The whole World Vision debacle was not about helping those who really need help, it was about the privileged and that is just messed up.
And then there was the firestorm of blogs and tweets and off-hand comments made in sermons about this whole ordeal. It was tough to swallow. I wrote a few weeks back about some of my struggles with the church. You can read that post here: http://tinyurl.com/nq22o69. I concluded: “I still believe and hope in the Church. I will not abandon the bride of Christ and I will listen for the gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit as the Triune God invites us to participate in the mission of God.”
I stand by that post and those words. Do I get frustrated with the church? Yes. Do I get annoyed with individuals who call themselves followers of Christ? Absolutely! Do I grow tired of the endless noise about conservatives and liberals, evangelicals and those who are just bitter and pissed off? You know it!
On Thursday I tweeted: “If some bloggers spent as much time with/in/being the church as they did writing about it & critiquing it they might have different outlook” (feel free to follow me @chadm02).
I had several specific bloggers, tweeters, authors, and ministers in mind when I tweeted that. In recent days, they have had little to say about the church that was remotely positive and they offered little hope as well. Several years back I was hanging out with Bart Campolo at Baylor. For the most part, he is off the grid and just does life and ministry with the community he is a part of called Walnut Hills (http://thewalnuthillsfellowship.org/). He is the son of an influential father, is an author, helped found a missions organization called Mission Year (http://missionyear.org/about/), and traveled around the world speaking. He shared with me that he woke up one day and realized he was just telling the same stories over and over. He hadn’t had a new ministry experience in years because he went from church to church, conference to conference, donor meeting to donor meeting talking about ministry and the church yet he was not an active participant. So he decided he needed a change. He went off the grid. Bart may not remember me and our conversation it still resonates with me, four years later.
Where am I going with this? I don’t know. I don’t know the personal lives of the celebrity bloggers, tweeters, authors, and ministers. I often wonder when was the last time they participated in a worship gathering at a church in their own community? Or the last time they participated in a service project? Or the last time they prepared a sermon or lesson for a people they are committed to and do life with day in and day out? Sometimes I am exhausted just trying to keep up with reading their latest tweet, blog, and forget reading their latest book. I often wonder how in the world do you have time for anything else when you fire off a tweet every half hour?
What if for every tweet we posted, we had to have a real face to face conversation?
What if for every blog post we wrote, we had to have an experience of meaningful participation with a church community?
What if for every rant or negative FB status update, we had to go out and learn and serve and help be the change in our own community?
I think we would all, the celebrity Christians included, have a very different outlook. Almost every day I think about going off the social media grid as well. Perhaps I’ll just journal and that will be enough. We’ll see.
One thing I know for certain, I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THE CHURCH and I will continuing helping build a different kind of tomorrow.