As someone who writes, I try to consume as much of others’ writing as I can – books, articles and of course blogs. I enjoy the style of other writers and consuming all the information and opinion. Honestly, though, most of what I read runs together. Few pieces actually stick with me for very long.
But some of them do.
On Monday, Rachel Held Evans posted some thoughts on her Sunday morning struggle not feeling that there is a church where she fits in. Her words broke my heart:
Have I fallen into sin?
Who will bring casseroles when I have a baby?
What I feel these days is not guilt, but something far more nefarious: dull resignation. There are nearly 200 churches near my small, Southern town, and hundreds more if we make the long drive to Chattanooga, so the fact that I can’t seem to make it through a single service without questioning the existence of God says a lot more about me than it does about church, now doesn’t it?
Do I want a church that fits me, or a me that fits the church?
I work for a church. While I am not ashamed of this fact, there are times when I am hesitant to share it with those who don’t know me well. There are few words in our language that elicit stronger reactions than the word “church.” And those reactions color people’s opinion of God, Jesus and even me.
Rachel goes on to describe feelings that I believe many in their 20s & 30s have about God & church:
God makes sense to me under the trees, and God makes sense to me in poetry and prayer, and God makes sense to me in Eucharist and Baptism and community and even creeds…but not in the offering plate, not in the building campaign, not in the pastor-who-shall-not-be-questioned, not in the politics, not in the assumptions about what a good Christian girl ought to be.
Am I selfish for wanting more?
And who will bring casseroles when I have a baby?
My simple reaction is: no, Rachel, you’re not selfish for wanting more. The church is the body of Christ in this world. If God makes sense to us anywhere, it should be in the church. And yet so many people – especially those in younger generations – feel like Rachel.
And there are many days that I doubt whether I fit in.
But I continue to come & work because it’s the only thing that helps me face that frustration and find that awe.
Have you ever lived in this tension? I’d love to hear your thoughts.