As many of you know – my husband isn’t involved at all in church life. This whole church and religion thing just isn’t what makes him comfortable and he’s definately not sure that he wants to swallow the “truth” of the church hook, line and sinker. And that’s probably putting it nicely.
This week, I’ve had a couple of encounters that have reminded me why for some strange reason our relationship works – even though I’m a pastor and he’s… well, if he were to call himself anything it would be Buddhist.
First, on Tuesday morning, a lovely woman who is in our small group came up and said that her husband and she had been talking about me. He also isn’t a churchy person. He also doesn’t get the whole religion thing. And he was intrigued by the idea that if my husband and I can figure it out – then he and his wife can figure it out too.
Then Tuesday night, I was given an amazing CD by a friend. It’s Susan Werner’s “The Gospel Truth
” and it has such a wide variety of musical genres and prophetic witness and a good mix of faith and doubt all rolled into one. She describes it as “Agnostic Gospel” and I think in many ways that is true.
In her song, Lost My Religion, she talks about being told that girls were more trouble than they are worth by her preacher… and then comes the line – lost my religion… or my religion lost me.
I think for far too many people, they don’t lose their faith, but their traditions lose them. Church people can be too brash, they can be too forceful and judgmental, they can be too close-minded and far too empty of grace.
And some people just can’t stand the hypocrisy. Some people just can’t stand being constantly judged for something they can’t control. Some people have too many questions and don’t think they can ask them. So they leave. Or rather, they are left behind.
As I listened to Werner’s album, and thought about my husband, and that woman’s husband, I started thinking about all of the other people in my town that wrestle with deep questions of faith and life but don’t belong in our churches. I want so much to have a cup of coffee with them and talk. I want to sit down over a beer and ask them what their questions are and promise them that I don’t have cut and dry answers – but that we can wrestle with the questions together. I want to spend time with my youth group parents and assure them that I know their lives are busy, and that Sunday mornings don’t always work for them, but that we as the church can make room in our lives for them if they let us.
My heart is for people who religion has lost.