Aug 20, 2009

Becoming a Church Where It's Okay to be Ugly

We all have problems.

We all have issues.

We all have our bad days.

We all have skeletons in our closets.

We all have a dark side.

If you are married, we all have those days when our marriage is just dreadful.

If you have children, we all have those days when we've absolutely blown it as parents, and when our children behave in ways that totally shock us to the point where we wonder whose children they might actually be.

Bottom line, we can all be pretty ugly.

But here's the thing. I haven't seen a whole lot of ugly in all my years of going to church.

I guess you can call me a professional church going person. I've been going to church all my life. And sure, in those years, I've seen some ugly behavior. But that's not what I'm talking about.

We're all messed up people who sometimes go through really messed up situations, and the question I am wondering is, "Would we ever feel safe and okay with bringing up our ugliness at church?"

My church experience has shown me that the church is the last place in the world where we would actually show our ugliness - our messed-upness, our sins, our failures, our pains, our wounds. And that's a crying shame. Because that I've seen that happen in neighborhood bars - in fact, I recently saw this happen at an airport bar in Chicago.

Shouldn't the church community - the community of believers who love Jesus and who accepts all for who we are - be the safest and most obvious place where people can let down their guard and show how truly human we are and get the support we need?

In all my years of going to church, there's never any time for people to be real with one another. It's so full of stuff and busyness that genuine community is impossible.

There's got to be better ways of fostering genuine community.

I want to see Trinity live this out.

I want to be part of a church community where it's not only okay to be real and genuine with one another, but that the church community becomes the safest place for people to do that and to get the support they need to make it through the ugly times of life.

That's the kind of church I want to be a part of - a church where it's okay to be ugly!


Anonymous said...

I think you are on to something here.

Kay Kang said...

Love your statement. True, true. . .
We are so busy projecting "holyness" in our church when all we really are a collection of "wicked and adulterous generation". We are only made clean by the power of His blood. When we realize how "ugly" we are due to our sins in comparison to the beauty of our Lord, then we can truly embrace the saving Grace of God's Love and Mercy and be deeply thankful.

We as the body of church must accept and nurture an environment where we can all be "safe". Not just the new comers greetings, but a community where there is no judgement and no condemnation since we are all sinners. A church needs to be a place where especially non-believers can come and find the solutions to their questions. Jesus is the answer. If not, what are we "selling" then? Jesus came to find the lost (Mark 2:17) and the church as His body must further His kingdom in welcoming the lost and the rejected.