Frustrated but Encouraged

I have been extremely busy as the school semester winds down. Between staying at home and being a Father to my daughter, attempting 9 semester hours, trying to locate a full-time ministry opportunity (this is my last semester in Memphis), and trying to remain involved ministry wise in the lives of some other people, I am frustrated but Encouraged.

Ever since becoming a Christian I have always wanted to help others come to know God. I know that even the best ministry context has its problems as well, but I am so tired of fighting ridiculous barriers that keep people from being open to God’s calling.

Why do Christians judge other people through human eyes? Why do Christians judge people by their skin color? By the way they dress? By their outward appearance? Why have Christians not learned to view people through the image they were created in? Through the baptism they could receive if they hear the gospel and see that very gospel lived out in the church’s life?

Why do we insist on having an unwritten dress code for church that tells the majority of our culture “Clean up and dress up if you wish to come hear!”

Why do we live in a culture celebrates exciting experiences with shouts of joy and cheers but insist that such emotions are improper in worship.

When people are grieving, why do we deny them the place in worship and fellowship to truly lament and question God, telling them “It will be alright! Just remember ‘In all things God works for the good of those who love him…” when we don’t even know what suffering they are going through – AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN TAKEN THE TIME TO ASK THEM.

Why do we profess every Sunday faith in a person whose life was shaped by servitude, humility, and obedience, and yet we struggle so to even scratch the surface of those attributes at times?

Why is church more about us and getting our preferences met first? AND THEN if those on the outside can fit into our mold, then they can enter and learn about Jesus.

Why are we more concerned with keeping our local church in good standing with a brotherhood church then worrying about whether Jesus is actually trying to change us so that we could effectively minister incarnationally to a postmodern, unchurch world?

Why are we so critical of postmodernism, resisting it at all cost when we have swallowed – hook, line, and sinker – modernism? Could it not be that while both isms contain elements contrary to the gospel, that God still could work WITHIN a postmodern world just as he did in a modern world?

These are just a few of my frustrations when it comes to church. However I am encouraged because God has worked through all the other imperfect moments of history in the church, so I know that he can work through our imperfect attempts at being a Jesus community…
…just as he can even work through someone like you and I!

3 responses to “Frustrated but Encouraged

  1. Hey Rex,
    Good post. You’re right, we have gotten way too caught up in the externals.

    Regarding the dress code stuff, I got kind of tickled at a recent church bulletin that came to my office. It was written by the minister as an evangelistic attempt to bring in community members who get the bulletin. He tried to introduce the congregation, largely in terms of its doctrine, then he got to dress code and said (more or less): “Here at ________ church of Christ, we do not have a dress code, because there isn’t one mentioned in the New Testament; only that people dress modestly. However, keep in mind that our worship services are a lot like a funeral…we gather to remember the death of Jesus. We try to dress as if we are going to a funeral.”

    What do you think? Wouldn’t that just really bring you in? haha

    Hang in there, this is a stressful week for both of us, it sounds like. Good luck on those papers.

  2. I guess the minister forgot about celebrating the resurrection.

  3. Hello Rex,
    All I can do is shout AMEN! We get so caught up in our tradition that we do not allow God to work. Keep that fire going and do what you can to be a part of living out the incarnational life. I pray that you seek God’s guidance as you look for a place to do ministry. Pray for us as well. We are in the process of looking for team mates who will be part of a church plant here in Memphis. If you want to know more about that let me know.

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