Has Anyone Seen My Faith?

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About J.R. Reed

J.R is a full-time single dad attempting to raise a 14-year-old daughter without providing too many stories to relay to her future therapist. He is also the creator of the popular blog, Sex and the SIngle Dad. A former radio talk show host and color commentator, he’s also an off-the-hook cook, a bit of an argyle-loving dork and has a word in Urban Dictionary. J.R. has a serious guacamole addiction and a torta dealer named Danny.

Comments

  1. Like you, I believe in God but have no desire to have anything to do with the church for the reasons you name above and more. They preach love and goodwill towards all yet religion has been the reason for more bloodshed, torture, murder than anything else. Religion is not inclusive; it’s about “us” and “them”. I have a hard time believing that God likes that. I do not need to go to a particular building and associate with certain people to be in touch with God. He is everywhere and knows me and what’s in my heart every second of the day. You don’t need to go to church to find your faith J.R.; just walk outside and look at the beauty that is all around you.

  2. J.R. Reed says:

    Thanks Kat. I appreciate your thoughts. I do need to look around and see the good stuff. In fact. I’m going outside now. BRB.

  3. Church has been the place where I have experienced the most destruction, and yet also the most healing. The church of my younger years sounds much like the cultish places you describe: abusive, greedy pastor, people more concerned with feeling righteous than feeling any empathy for their hurting neighbour. The church I attend now is far from perfect, but through it I have met some of the most amazing people I know, and found a place to heal from the hurts of my past church.
    Like you have, I work with the youth group, I’m studying youth work and counselling at bible college, and I am SO AWARE, all the time, of all the flaws of the church. Seeing people hurt breaks my heart, seeing people live contrary to the ways Jesus taught breaks my heart, and sometimes the ‘church isn’t perfect because people aren’t perfect’ excuse just doesn’t cut it.

    But all of that crap is precisely why I stay in church (much apart from being at times giddily in love with God) though I’ve lost my faith in church and leaders over and again, though I’ve often felt bitter and cynical, I realise that my value can be in speaking justice when I notice injustice, in loving the new or unpopular person who doesn’t fit into the clique, in letting the outsider and the ‘ugly’ and the ‘sinning’ that God loves them even if they don’t ‘look like a Christian, in helping the youth build their identities on God rather than the church, in helping people know that it’s okay to step up and speak out if they don’t agree or don’t feel comfortable, in letting people know that it’s okay to have doubts and questions, because that’s where you can seek God and find the truth in amongst all the petty hierarchy and shallow talk.

    So disenchanted with the Sunday antics, but falling fiercely more in love and in deeper relationship with God as I continue to serve him where I feel is right. Not where I feel used or abused. Learning to say no in the context of church has done wonders.

    Thank you for your article, it makes me happy to know that people can find God outside of church, it often feels like a lonely journey, but I think that you can be all the more strong for it in the end if you choose to be. Rue the day that God can only be found in church! (I think I’ve found him mostly at the beach, on the bus, in my own home and within some amazing relationships with friends old and new)

  4. The church is not a building. The church is the body of Christ. If you are a Christian, then you are a part of the church. There is a difference between a local fellowship and the body of Christ. Not everyone who is a “church member” is a member of the body of Christ. The true church, God is still assembling. Those who have passed are in heaven with Him. The Bible says that many will say to Him “Lord, Lord….” but He will say “I never knew you.” These are he people who went to church, but had no relationship with Him.

    The book of Acts tells us that the Holy Spirit is the one who adds to the church. He also gifts people as He sees fit. The apostle Paul said that we are not to neglect the gathering together of the saints. We do this because this is where our spiritual gifts are exercised, and used to edify the saints, and reach out to the community for Christ.

    If you are a Christian, you are part of the church. God has not lost faith in the church. He calls it the “pillar and ground of truth,” and also says that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I have found that it is best to keep your eyes on God, and not on people, because people will always let us down.

  5. I have finally realized all churches have individuals that are gossipy, not thoughtful and you name it. Some are worse than others. I am so sorry for your experiences. I just heard a pastor say that he was thankful for his first assignment because your first experience can set the tone for your whole ministry. I was raised in church and too disliked the unchristian things I seen going on. Someone recently said something to me, ” You don’t expect to go to the hospital to see a bunch of healthy people, so don’t expect to go to church to see perfect people.” By God’s grace I am saved and he works on my faults everyday and it is hard to go to church and see people who you hold to a higher standard not do what we think is right but they have to account to God for that not me.

  6. Kent Burgess on fb. (Missouri, US) He is a good one to converse with. :)

  7. Hey, Kris! I like what you’ve written.
    People are not always …charitable.
    What I like about church (in my case UU) is it’s a nice community, & source of common ground. We’re working toward a common cause – whether it’s spiritual opening, a fostering of compassion, or sometimes, social justice.
    But sometimes especially if the leadership or structure isn’t sound there can be problems.
    Anyway, good luck! And in my experience faith while necessary can be acquired & isn’t (always?) a prerequisite for membership.

Speak Your Mind