Any local church worth gathering -if they are healthy -are going to attract hurting, messed-up, fragile and vulnerable as well as mean-spirited, ornery people. Why?
Where else for sinners to be accepted with all the grease they’ve both collected and manufactured in this broken, sinful world? Unless we don’t allow them in at all.
I’ve said it plenty and will never stop saying God is endless in His wisdom and if you don’t have a fair number of hurting and therefore at times hurtful people in your local flock He apparently doesn’t trust you enough to serve them -in which case you are likely more a social club who appreciates anything from the style of music, the form of speaking, a few friends who show up on Sunday or the lack of agitation to grow up spiritually, or other such matters of FAR LESS importance than cooperating with the Holy Spirit in building HIS kingdom. Note, His kingdom, not some church-stream or local fellowship’s kingdom!
Ok, so what about that foul “grease trap” metaphor?!
See, one of my jobs on 2nd floor in our Christian community is routinely cleaning out the grease trap. The truth is, I don’t mind it much, but it does take a good 45 minutes or more to do it thoroughly. Because there are seven floors above us there are at times drain issues just past our outlet pipe that also can affect back-ups. Of sludge. I have a “snake” and “shop vac” and etc..
We all bring and carry and at times create sludge, spiritual, emotional and behavioral.
This is one overview as to why marriages fail, worship teams break up, the pastor runs off committing adultery with the keyboard player and so on. But of course all of this stuff also happens in other relationships outside the church. Plenty of workplaces, just about any profession is not immune to grease backups and lack of people willing to stick it out and work at un-sticking and getting the gunk out of the system.
It’s easier to split, to break the relationship, to disengage, to build your own little castle on a proverbial “island” where you let nobody… or only one or two people in.
Play your cards very “close to your vest” and keep a “healthy” distance. It’s “better that way”.
It can be. Boundaries are important and even excellent… but sometimes what you’re doing is simply adding more grease to your own trap and there’s a point at which if it doesn’t get attended to and flushed out you are going to have an overflow. It does indeed stink when that happens. We ALL need someone to help us de-grease our own individual traps in which we’re sometimes trapped.
Hence, churches are very much a resource. People such as pastors, mentors, discipleship leaders, small/cell group leaders, 12 Step sponsors and solid counsellors, spiritual directors are the sort of people who really can help you unclog.
No perfect people, so no perfect church or flawless people serving as per the list I just mentioned here, but often it indeed takes such to get our plumbing put right and flowing.
The sad reality is denial. Some have been hurt so much they just will not risk being hurt again. It’s always your choice of course.
Walking across the street is a risk. So is living alone, aloof and walled off from people whom God Himself has raised up to help us get the gunk out.
Why does all this come to mind?
I’ve begun noticing a certain odor from the sink…
Ahhh the life of a pastor is such a thrill 🙂
PostScript- so tonight I cleaned it. Wow… hose pulled out of the shop vac and slop went into 3 puddles all around the kitchen. It was a character building time indeed. But it’s clean and the drains are working again!
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn