For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why Go to Church?

Being a single mom, trying to raise two children on my own, looking at things and wondering if I made mistakes that created problems for the kids instead of helping/healing, figuring out what to do with the rest of my life, knowing my oldest graduates in a bit over a year and finances change drastically, along with keeping the house running with yet another appliance that has lost its mind, multiple oral surgeries, in-laws that don't love me, church leaders who say they are here for us but aren't, same church leaders who say they'll get back to me on something and never do, the ongoing slamming walls of social connections and finding a place in the church, and.....sort of built up a bit, and I made the mistake of trying to talk to people in the church about it.

Their response? I need to be healed NOW. In fact, I was commanded to get over all those past wounds NOW! Well, um, I'm past those, thanks for not asking. A whole thing about how I need patience and grace and am a fighter and need to quit making excuses and do what I'm supposed to do because that is who I am and don't forget! YOU are expected to do it better because that is who you are.

In other words, "Jerri, let us tell you how you are not acting and performing like you need to. Let us fix your behavior because, girl, you need it."


Even if I didn't already feel like I was failing across the board, I certainly would have by the time these "love you lots" Christians were done.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention none of them actually let me tell them what was bothering me? But they were more than active in telling me how they thought I need to be fixed.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. These sum up the law and prophets.

Want me to tell you how many times they told me that?

Ironically, I didn't feel loved at all.

I felt blasted, as though someone had put a cannon to my chest. What do you even say to that?

Well, if you are me, you post on Facebook:

Church attenders (aka Christians) have hurt me more deeply and more thoroughly than a husband who left me, parents who let me know how much I failed, and in-laws who accused me of horrific moral actions and even committing murder.

If it weren't for my children, I would never walk in a church again, and I am prayerfully seeking God because I'm not sure I want my children there either.

Within minutes one person sent me a personal message, "Am I one of them?"

When I replied yes, the response wasn't defensive or accusing or filled with excuses. It was kind. "Sorry. I don't know what I said or did, but I'm apologizing anyway."

I will tell you honestly. It caught me off guard because it wasn't what I expected. Instead, what I expected came from others who commented.

Now, I want to preface and say I know with all I am these people were sincere when they said they were sorry I'm hurt. It's the other stuff they said...and didn't say.

They said...
...the church is filled with broken people.
...the church is imperfect. need to forgive. need to heal. need to find it in you to get over this and get back in church.

Notice who is supposed to take the responsibility? Notice who is the victim?

if you look, I'm the one supposed to take responsibility for healing, forgiving, and getting over it so I get back in church. That only leaves on other option for the victim, and, folks, the church isn't a victim. The church is a failure.

Okay, so it is broken and imperfect. So that is the excuse for hurting someone else? I'm broken and imperfect? Does that mean I'm not expected to take responsibility for myself or my actions? Does that get me a "get of out responsibility for growing up and doing better" free card? Because at no time did those church people take any responsibility for fixing anything or make an effort to make the church better. All I got were excuses for why it messed up.

At no point did anyone say, "So how do we get better? What do we need to do? How did this happen? What could have avoided it? What could have been done differently? What do we do now?"

In fact, no one even asked, "So how did the church hurt you?"

The comments tended to fall into three groups:
1. Sorry you are hurt. Hope you heal and don't let those people keep you from church.
2. The church is broken and imperfect and can't help the fact they hurt you. You, however, need to grow and heal.
3. I totally understand. Let me tell you what I don't like about the church, and they did.

ONE PERSON said, "Hey! We are off topic. The topic we should be looking at is the fact Jerri is hurt!"

Here is the irony.

I was hurt because my heart was heavy and aching and I made the mistake of trying to talk about that, and I was hit with the ways I wasn't performing well. So I made the comment about the church hurting me, and I was told how I need to perform, how I need to respond, and how I need to be a Christian about it.

At no time did anyone actually ask me what is hurting me.

ONE PERSON asked me, "Am I part of the pain?"

Jesus said, "Unless your religion surpasses that of the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven."

The Pharisees weren't concerned about the heart. They were concerned about the dog and pony show. They weren't concerned with how they could serve and strengthen others. They were concerned with how others made them look, and they hated Jesus because He called them what they were, "White washed tombs."

I have seen a lot of dead religion this week.

Frankly, to call it anything else is enabling the church to continue in its legal haze and not grow in the way it loves like Jesus. The Lord has slipped lots of warnings about enabling throughout the Bible. I'll pass on that.

And I know what folks in the church are going to say. I need to forgive and heal. The interesting thing is, I'm not angry anymore. I'm not even hurt anymore. I'm simply very sad and refuse to be an enabler.

It's like I told someone in a reply to a comment on that thread.

I am part of the Body, but I have this idea of how the church should be and the way it should serve, and I'm not angry anymore. I'm not hurt anymore, but it is obvious what I believe the church should be, it isn't. How I believe it should respond, it doesn't, and it is ridiculous for me to keep beating my head against a wall expecting the church to be something it isn't and then whining because I have a headache.

If all I wanted was someone to care enough to take time to listen--and that really is what I wanted. I just wanted someone to care enough to listen and be on my side--and the church was so busy making excuses and telling me how I needed to be a Christian, then why would I want to be there?

If I am hurting and I need to be served or tended, why would I go somewhere that not only makes excuses for not serving or tending me but then also says I need to be Christian-like and get over the fact they are not doing their job and quit expecting them to grow up?

Why would any hurting person want to be there?

They don't. And neither do I.

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