It’s popular nowadays to bash church. It seems like everybody’s doing it.
But you won’t find me doing it.
And here is the reason why: I love church.
My love for the church of Jesus Christ isn’t blind. People I love have been hurt by church people. I’ve been hurt by church people. I’ve been in church long enough to know ALL about church politics . . . and to have been on the receiving end of those politics. I’ve suffocated in spiritually abusive church environments. I’ve been molested by a church leader.
But I still can’t bash church.
Because church is one of God’s greatest inventions.
Church is where I learned God wants to be part of my everyday life, and where I just.keep.on finding Him in worship.
Church is where I discovered that I love young people. And that serving feels good.
Church is where I’ve learned all sorts of valuable things from these wise women we like to call elders’ wives . . . That a good husband doesn’t oppress his wife, but sacrifices for her. That a ministry wife needs to have thick skin. That even elder’s wives struggle with some of the very same sins I have struggled with.
Church was where I first met a real, live person who had battled an eating disorder, and who prayed for me to be healed from mine.
Church is where families adopted me as a college student. They fed me and let me do my laundry. They picked me up from my dorm to go walking, just to talk to a sad, lonely college student.
The church is who took care of me when I was very sick after Faith’s birth.
The church is who took care of me when my husband had viral meningitis.
Church is where I consistently find compassion and strength and friendship when I face discouragement and confusion and anger.
It was in church where I learned that sometimes I am the one who hurts other people.
So it became the place I learned that I needed grace, and where I learned I didn’t understand grace, and where I learned that other people have difficulty understanding God’s grace too.
It’s a place I’m learning to extend grace to other people, and to receive it myself.
Those things didn’t happen at one individual Perfect Church. Instead, they happened at different churches, over many years, and separated by an ocean. God’s people are like that. They love. On all continents. At all times.
I love the way I feel when I’m with other believers. I love the way we love each other. I love the Person who brings us together. And didn’t Jesus think His Church was a pretty good idea too, since he prayed for it just before he died for it?
I better believe in church. I am, after all, a church planting missionary. I dream of seeing lots and lots of churches full of Khmer believers. I dream of seeing lots of lots of churches full of American believers. All thriving.
And I am here today to proclaim that I love the church.
I love the church.