To my friend who accepts the church handbook changes
My dear friend,
You and I both read the same news, the same changes to the church handbook. And within a day of the announcement, you came to social media to say you were surprised, confused, and sad when you first read it. In the next line, you expressed your commitment to the church, even in the face of troubling news.
And then you invited others to find the same acceptance that you just did.
I can see where you’re coming from. I can see admirable things in your words: a desire to show devotion to God, to remain faithful to this church, to be constant even when faith is tested. And I admire that.
But I’m having trouble understanding your quick dismissal of your own discomfort–and why it’s something you would recommend to me.
You are not the only one who felt uncomfortable.
My social feed is filled with other dear friends who expressed shock, worry, sadness–and in the same breath, expressed acceptance (even defense) of the new church mandates.
Why not sit with that feeling a little longer? Why not hold up your discomfort and examine it from different angles? Our founding story begins with a lengthy, uncomfortable wrestle of belief, a question asked in the midst of congregations who claimed to know the truth. Scripture promises that God will answer us in both our minds and our hearts—-and if all our hearts feel uneasy, there must be a message there.
I feel deeply uneasy, startled, heartbroken. I am astonished at the new grounds on which the church will not allow the blessing of a baby—-a scenario that makes the argument of “protecting the children” ring particularly hollow.
As I wrestle with my sadness, please rethink inviting me to quickly accept the news.
Please do not pity or patronize me for not accepting immediately, or ever. Resist your urge to hint that someone like me just “doesn’t understand.” Please consider that the same impulses that came up in you—the desire to be faithful, to follow Christ, to endure to the end—are the very same impulses that arise in me.
Just because you do not experience faith the same way I do does not mean my faith does not exist.
I want to be a disciple and I cannot accept this announcement right now and truthfully call myself one. If you want to understand why, let’s please talk about it.
You may find we’re not so different, you and I.