Note: I will use the term “church” to simplify my referral to what I would consider the majority of churches. This is not intended to lump every single church together. However, it is best to take off the rose colored glasses and be open-minded when reading this post. I will also state that I am a broken vessel, with my knowledge and understanding marred by my personal journey and weaknesses. My purpose is to provide help, however inept in my own attempts, that will spur change which results in people being more positively influential, personally empowered, and saved from a far less effective life. Thank you
It is Sunday morning. As I continue to recover from shoulder surgery at home, I took the opportunity to watch the morning talk shows about our current events and ongoing political debates. This past week has been all about the recent tragedies that have resulted in the deaths of citizens and law enforcement alike. As usual, I want to draw a parallel to my personal experiences with those of the last few days, and a few critical observations.
One of the most important points I heard made is this; we must work toward the learned practice of cultivating a willingness and desire to listen to and understand each other, not “listening” merely as a pause in order to inject our own agenda.
I see this as a preeminent problem when trying to work through many of the issues we face.
When we are only listening to respond and not to reflect and understand, we miss the point of having any meaningful conversation, AND, when we stop listening and ignore another persons views, we are limiting our own ability to be heard.
This plea was made on the show, but then, the adversaries spent all of their time talking past each other! While it is true that these programs have a limited time frame to voice differing opinions, it has become one model by which activists now ply their trade. Without bombastic, in your face confrontations and demonstrations, it is believed that no one will be heard. This is giving rise to voices that have no desire for reconciliation, but extreme agendas to be validated and embraced. Frustration has risen to a level that prevents anyone from hearing anyone else and violence is the result.
I ask you then to please take a moment and listen intently and resist the impulse to disagree and respond before you have heard me out. I will once again summarize my thoughts to you.
My agenda has been one to confront the church on issues that have been tragic for so many people, myself included. For it to DO something about the deadly infection called pornography that is methodically destroying the church from the inside out. For the church to accept responsibility for its inactivity and self preservation when the lives of people are at stake. Countless souls that God loves have already been lost, I hope that we can stop the bleeding once and for all.
The visionary leadership that once was the hallmark of the church has in many ways been replaced with people pleasing organizations; places to be placated and not confronted, it has lost the ability to correct the direction of faulty thinking at its most elemental stage. Instead, it has grown a crop tainted with deadly and infectious blight. The church, not wanting to upset its flock, steps in when it is already too late to actually help someone avoid destruction. This is a consequence of the disastrous policy of political correctness that earmarks our day.
I know first hand about being the abused child, my family serving, giving and being in the church, and the church doing nothing to save or protect the children in its care. I know first hand as a staff member, about abuse that happens in the church and seeing the churches first reaction to protect its image, and being less concerned about helping people and repairing their broken lives.
There needs to be an accountability of the church, and an expectation that it will not only stand strong on sin and moral issues, but provide authentic environments for people to find healing and live in safety and freedom. While the culture is in effect, patently embracing immorality, the church should be shining the light of truth in a relevant fashion. If criminal activity has taken place under the churches oversight, or they have knowledge of it, they should be subject to and respectful of the laws of the land, and the laws of God.
If something is important, it becomes a priority to us.
For example, If you have a toothache, you get yourself to the dentist and deal with it. There are several reasons for this, a couple being the intense pain you are experiencing has to be remedied, and the fact the pain will only get worse and spread infection elsewhere in your body.
It follows the old Christian saying “First the natural, then the spiritual.” That toothache is porn and the resulting infection is the marital infidelity, gossip, divorce, abuse, and the single family households it creates. You may have a program for men who struggle with porn, but if you only have 4-5 guys there regularly you might want to look at it fresh and find new ways to get more men involved. This problem is proven to be quite significant and warrants the effort and attentiveness.
The churches formula for battling porn and indeed its purpose as a whole should be reconsidered, possibly reinvented and then with great conviction, reapplied if it is to remain relevant, and not just a social club for like minded people. This requires humility on the part of denominational and church leadership, and a willingness to hear criticisms which are valid and justified. The church cannot continue in business as usual mode and be able to stand in an hour of sins onslaught on its individual members.
Let me tell you why. The enemy singles people out, isolates them, shames them, and all but destroys any practical effectiveness of the individual, and then, by repeating this strategy, destroys the influence of whole institutions. The church has unfortunately put itself in this compromising position with its stance of being primarily reactionary, instead of having a proactive motivation. The enemy is cunning, and uses his skills to take advantage of the vacuum that results from this approach.
There. I said it, again! As I continue in this quest, I am hoping to not only be heard, but to help motivate a fresh new dialog of hope in the lives of people, and the church is undoubtedly an essential key to that happening. A conversation to which we can bring our darkest and most shameful things into the light and find the help we need to overcome personally, and change the lives of others for the better. In doing that, I have felt resistance, I have heard cautions, and received warnings.
I have at times been resistant to another’s opinions because of the passion I feel for this cause. I am guilty of disregarding peoples thoughts and words summarily in favor of my own position. In fact, though words were spoken, I had not heard enough to consider them fully. I have been focused like a laser on my cause, my thoughts, and my life.
With that said, I have a question for you.
How many times have you had a conversation with someone, but later you couldn’t remember what the other party said; you know, the key points made, their very heart? In the process, you felt the very same thing about them, were they listening? That is a sad commentary on a missed opportunity to connect deeply with someone on an issue near and dear to their heart, and for them to hear yours as well. Could it be that the opportunity missed actually had the power to be part of a greater change, for the better of many, far beyond ourselves, if not for all?
A lot to ponder, and thank you for hearing me out on this. If you ever want to share your thoughts with me, I will listen and reflect on them and give you the respect you deserve. I never intended for this blog to be a one way portal, but a conversation that has purpose to it.
With that being said, I do appreciate the emails, but unless it is a of a sensitive, personal nature, I would prefer you dialog here for all to see. I believe that is how we will find solutions, and together we can be a powerful force for positive change.