This post makes more sense if you take into account that the name of this blog used to be, “The Church Agitator.” God moves us to different places as we grow. I’m in a different place now than I was then. There’s a story behind that if you want to read it.
Have you seen this movie? It’s called Pleasantville, and I like a lot of things about it. This scene particularly, because Betty, played by Joan Allen, has basically been awakened. She discovered color in the world. She’s had a chance to see things as they really are, and she says something that rings in my head: “I don’t want it to go away.”
This is how I feel right now. This is why I don’t just leave the church where things aren’t going the way I wish they were right now.
I love the Church, it’s the thread that runs all the way from my childhood to now. I’ve seen it as different things through the years. At times, it was a place for me to feel like I belong. Other times, it was the only place I felt like I belonged. My view of it has evolved as I’ve grown up and (hopefully) matured. I’ve been employed by it. I’ve felt like I didn’t belong in it. I’ve seen color in it many times, much like Betty did in Pleasantville. Splashes of color which solidify in my mind that it’s absolutely, positively, the best thing on earth. Jesus thought so too, which is why he made it. His version was full-color, no gray at all. Burning, vibrant colors. Like Betty’s husband, though, people have painted it gray when the color became inconvenient.
I want color. Not just for myself, I want it for the whole body. I know that’s idealistic and unrealistic, and I know it’s going to hold disappointment at every turn.
I’m attending a church right now where I’m not happy with about half of what’s going on. I have spoken, in person, to church leadership about my concerns. I’ve been ignored and, frankly, lied to. I’m still trying to affect change where I can to bring back the church of Acts, full of blood and fire. I’m frustrated. I have considered leaving many times because it is sometimes infuriating to believe you get a genuine word from God, to throw it out there and have a group of leaders vehemently stick to the same ol’, same ol.’
That’s the thing, though. I believe God has lit something in me. I don’t want it to go away, I want it to spread. If I go away, it goes away. I think there are others who could be a part of what God’s started in me, but that involves staying where I am. I can’t settle for seeing it be what it is, so full of tradition that there is not room for Jesus.
Being a part of a church is like being in a marriage. That’s how Paul describes the relationship of Christ and the church, in fact. For the people involved, it’s a lot like a marital relationship (should be) too. If your husband or wife get sick, you don’t leave them and marry someone else who isn’t sick. You stick it out with them until they get better. You want to see the best in them, so you stay by them through the worst. This is exactly how I see my role as an agitator. I think we have a great vision in Acts of how things really could be, and I want to hold that up every chance I get.
I don’t mean to imply that this makes me somehow exceptional. If God could open my spiritual eyes, I’m positive that I’d see others in my church who are “seeing color” too. I’m a part of a small Bible study group that actually gives me a lot of hope.
I believe God is raising up many people the same way, so that’s why I’m writing. I hope I don’t come across as someone who’s just whining. I don’t want to hurt the church. I do want to give hope to other people who are in other churches, trying just like me to see something better come about.