Today is the 8th day of Lent.
Over the last year I’ve become aware of a problem that I have. It’s my problem. It originates within me. It has no connection to any external reality that would indicate blame or responsibility for any person or organization outside of myself. Not only do I acknowledge that this is my problem, I don’t expect anyone to do anything to solve it for me. If I am to overcome this problem, the solution will come from a change within my own heart.
I can’t imagine how anyone could own a problem more fully than I just did.
So here is the problem: I am filled with feelings of loathing whenever I come across an evangelical church. This could be just about any blonde-pewed, thick carpeted, center-pulpited, matching suit and hair cut pastored, arm waving music ministered church I come in contact with. These feelings are more intensely directed toward stand-alone mega churches that create their own insular world, independent of any denominational or ecclesial authority.
Rarely have I experienced feelings so powerful and so isolated from rational thinking. If I’m driving by The Family Church or Harvest Kingdom Fellowship or Riverside Blue Jean Chapel, I look away. I don’t want to see them. I don’t want to go inside them. The thought of the rousing hymn singing, the suited ministers with large smiles, and the oversized study bibles being toted around by smiling members fills me with dark feelings. It makes me think there is no way there can be a God.
The hymns by Fanny Crosby and the “praise and worship” music pouring out of these churches turns my mind away from God. I can’t bear to hear that music anymore.
I did confess that the problem is solely mine, remember? So if these descriptions remind you of your church, forgive me. It’s my problem, and I’m seeking help through open confession.
I accept these feelings as a message from my unconscious that tells me I have some work to do. I suspect I have wounds and resentments from the years I tried so hard to be part of that world while feeling so deeply conflicted about it. I have work to do, but I don’t know what kind of work. And I don’t know how to get started.
Maybe this is how one gets started with this kind of work. By owning up to a thing and then paying attention to stirrings of the heart and wisdom from without.