While I was down at Siggraph, I got to talk with someone who is an extremely bright guy and I admire a good bit on a professional level. While we chatted in a real informal setting, the topic of religion came up (the thread of all my conversations always goes: “how long you worked for Intel? Really, why’d you have that gap? A monastery/seminary?!?! Wow, lets talk about religion…) Anyway, this person said that they’d really enjoyed the faith and growth of his community church, but got really turned off by the whole ‘Church’ thing as he got to know the shortcomings and problems in the parish. “I’m spiritual – just not religious. God can be found everywhere so now I do my own thing. I just got to the point of say ‘I don’t need this hassle’.”
I wish I had a nickle for every time I hear this (or felt it myself). Despite all the good intentions of everyone getting along perfectly – dealing with the other folks in the church is hard. Maddening really. It inherently puts us into contact with folks outside our comfort, social, economic, philosophical, educational, behavioral and all other bounds. I know first hand. We’re a big, messy lot for sure. But his statement stuck with me and I pondered it a long time since I felt this very thing many times. I was driving home about a week later that the Holy Spirit kind of slapped me with:
Yep, you may be right – you may not ‘need’ this hassle. But they might really need you. Now go and be the Christ you are supposed to be for them and that will teach you what you DO need.