I do not feel like I was supported by the Church body I grew up in.
While on a bike ride, I could feel myself trying to ignore memories of my childhood in my old church. Unsure why I was doing that, I decided to let my mind go down that slippery slope to see where it took me. I realized why I feel resentment when I see people I used to see all the time! It comes down to my initial statement… I do not feel like I was supported by the Church body I grew up in. I can’t even listen to the worship songs we used to sing, which sucks because they are popular songs sang in EVERY church I go into. So I need to get inside these feeling so I can get past them.
There are two reasons, that I feel are important, where I believe I was not supported.
1) I feel passed over. I grew up in that church from when I was 9, and when I was in high school, I was attending a private high school with a great football program. This is not a bragging opportunity for me, but I started for that program at QB for 2 years. In those 2 years, we lost only 2 games (playoff games) and I can count 6 people from my church who came to watch a single game. I played little league with some of them, I was coached by some, I went to their events, I’ve seen their performances, but only 6 ever saw me play. 6!!!
2) I feel cast aside. Though I cannot go into the WHOLE situation surrounding my own parents trying to stop me from getting married and trying to use the church against us, they did manage to convince many outside of my peer group to turn their backs on me and my wife. Our peers have always been great, and I love them for that, but we had people who did not know the situation, the WHOLE situation think it was okay to give me and my then fiancé, some [horribly wrong] advice. It created a hostile environment we could no longer remain in. We were “pushed” out, though no physically.
3) And some may get mad at me for this one, but this is me exploring my feelings, the MC program my church was doing overlooked me, and anyone who didn’t join it. Now, I didn’t do the program, and those who did love it, but it f–ked up relationships between those who were in, and those who were not in it. I lost a good friend to it, and that alone is enough to despise it. But there were members of the church who, when they found out I was going to go the the United States Air Force Academy instead of this program, actually looked down on my decision and didn’t talk to me as much. I was there at the church in the youth group when it was six of us on a full night and when it exploded to 30+. I was there. I was there! I know I said two, but the third came to me as I was writing.
Well, That’s now off my chest and out there. I’m not sure how many people from my church read my blog, or will read this one, but it is honestly not about them, it’s about these feelings I have towards them that may not be warranted, and the only reason I have them almost 9 years after leaving the church, is that once I shoved them down inside, I never dealt with them. So hear I am trying to deal with them.
So I’ve just listed why I didn’t feel supported by my home church, so what? Isn’t that like saying I didn’t have friends in high school? Is being supported the purpose of the church? I have an unshakable relationship with Jesus, what else is necessary? Here’s a Bible verse I found tonight (Galatians 6:7-10):
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
How can we expect to help the world when we so easily turn our backs on our own?
The Brother of the Prodigal Son
The story of the prodigal son did come to mind when writing this, and if you remember the story, the brother was upset when there was a celebration for the return of the idiot brother who spoiled his inheritance (Luke 15:27-32).
27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”
I understand the brother’s resentment, frustration, and anger, because that’s what I’m feeling. I also understand what the father means in his response. But I’m still allowed to be angry (Ephesians 4:26), but I have to get rid of this resentment, and frustration. So what are my next steps, do I put on a happy face, and hope it goes away? Do I write out a much angrier post, print it, and burn it? Do I become [more] cynical of the American Church? Do I try my best to hold tight to the only thing in Christianity that is unarguable; that we are all called to Love one another? (Well, I can’t argue with that.) All I know is that I can’t keep it in anymore. When something bothers me enough, I get a perpetual and persistent headache, and I’ve had one for a couple days… since my little bike ride.
Well, it doesn’t seem like I’ve had any mental breakthroughs in the course of writing this post, but maybe it’s the start of something that will help me shake this. At the very least, I have to believe that this will become somehow useful and not just something that makes people mad.