— I say all of this with zero formal theological training, so if you see anything that looks like the Gospel According to Galloswag, 1) please let me know and 2) please discard it from your mind. Far be it from me to lead someone astray with my own rambles! —
Because this is my blog, Ima be real and tell you all that I have been through many spiritual funks… especially in the last 5 years.. especially with the church. There were times I adopted this ‘tude like, “Hey! I’m a wounded spiritual animal, and until the church or God steps up their game to win me back, I’m going to stay at home and sulk.” Then I sought out the company of other butthurt Christians so we could commiserate about how crappy or annoying other Christians were.
But guess what? The silent treatment doesn’t work with God and the church. I couldn’t emotionally manipulate them into screeching to a stop so they would pat my head and apologize for all the grievous acts they had committed. Nope, they marched on merrily without me as I stewed away like a persecuted pot roast. I get it, y’all. I’ve been one of the Butthurt Brethren. But I beg you, DO NOT stay there.
If you’re currently butthurt at your church, the Church, &/or God, here are a few thoughts I have from my own experiences. Hopefully they will be helpful.
- Don’t romanticize your rebellion
Sometimes my butthurt was just pure contrariness, and I would find comfort in romanticizing my rebellion as a “spiritual journey” or something equally cheesy. But I wasn’t journeying, I wasn’t theologically confused, and I didn’t lack clear direction. The bible is devastatingly straightforward for the most part. The problem was that I was 100% sure what I was (or wasn’t) supposed to do, and 100% sure that I didn’t want to do it. The struggle was actually against myself: knowing what I knew, feeling what I felt, what would I do?
- Don’t project your spiritual dryness
You know how when you feel ugly, the beauty of others is offensive? So it goes with spiritual beauty too, it would seem. When I feel spiritually “bleh” because of my own choice to distance myself from God, the blasted perkiness (aka joy) of others makes me want to screech in frustration. When I feel insincere, I doubt the sincerity of others.
- Do extend the grace shown to you to other Christians
Now, there have been times when I had legit grievances against the church. I’ve encountered blatant racism, blasphemy, and deception there. In fact, no one has hurt or disappointed me more in the past 5 years than people who I met in the Christian community. So why continue?
On a grand scale, the church is Jesus’ bride*, and I doubt Jesus is impressed when I claim to follow him while trashing His bride. What kind of hubs would be alright with that? On a smaller scale, the church hurts people because the church is people and people hurt people.** Yes, I have the right to be offended at some Christians. But instead of seizing this opportunity for personal vindication, why not seize it to exercise my freedom to forgive? Christians are supposed to set themselves apart by the way we love one another, and love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.***
As a final note, in a strange way the disappointments and hurts I’ve encountered within the Christian community have been great motivators for me to keep pursuing God in word and deed, because I really don’t want to discourage my Christian community the way I’ve been discouraged. Not so I can be built up as some righteous super star, but so they’ll be encouraged to keep the faith, too. Upward spiral!
- in toto
I’m not advocating for anyone to bury their bad feels and pretend everything is great when it’s not. But for the love of your own LIFE please learn from yer ol’ Galloswag and do not waste time pouting, lest you grow into a bitter, shriveled, humiliated grape. Please don’t make your story be “I used to go to church, but now I go around trashing the church.”
Grapple, rassle, yell it out, but KEEP IT MOVING FORWARD. ❤
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*Ephesians 5, 2 Corinthians 11, Revelations 19, 21
**Important caveat: if your church is full of false teachers, get on out of there! You expect to find sinners in a church just like you’d expect to find weak people in a gym. But one of the main goals of a gym is muscle growth, so if a gym’s trainers and longtime members are content pumping 2 pounders, somethin ain’t right. And one of the main goals of a church is spiritual growth, so if a church’s leaders and long-time members are content with their habitual sin and are preaching blasphemy, somethin ain’t right.
*** John 13 , 1 Corinthians 13