What’s Happening Wednesdays: Real Talk

I’n not feeling too Christian these days. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a believer. My faith is fully intact. I try to at least look at my Bible once a day, and I pray regularly. But lately, and by lately, I mean at least the last two years, I would rather watch church on social media, than to darken the doorways of the sanctuary with my shadow.

I have a complicated relationship with my home church. I love my church, but for me love means more than extending the right hand of fellowship, and geeeting each other with a holy kiss. Love to me has always meant wanting what’s best for, and expecting the best of. Love means expressing disappointment AND celebrating victories. I liken my church covenant to marriage vows. And just like a marriage, church membership takes work. And sometimes, I have no desire to do the work.

Church membership is also like a marriage in that it ought to be a safe place to be yourself. Unfortunately, in my 20+ years of attending worship services as an adult, I have only experienced that feeling of freedom in one place. In every other place I attended worship, I was burdened with other people’s expectations of me. I was expected to behave in a certain way, participate in particular ministries, and even sit in a certain section.

Because of these expectations, many people come to church in their Sunday Best, including the plastered on smile and the stock answers to polite conversation. In our attempts to show Christian love, we become caricatures of and inauthentic versions of ourselves.

Wearing church facades is exhausting. It drains us of the energy to do actual ministry, which brings me to my next biggest issue. Too many of our churches define ministry as what we do at the church instead of what we do AS the church. It’s great to minister to folks within our congregations, but there is a whole world out there who needs to know the love of Christ. There are so many churches who have no impact on their immediate neighbors, except to block the flow of traffic and take up all the parking spaces on the street on Sunday Mornings. We have to do better.

I’m not exempt. I’m guilty of every possible shortcoming. I have no problem admitting that, and while I know from my own study, that this in itself is a basic tenet of a Christianity, our supposedly Christian leaders appear to be incapable of such an action… this is yet another reason I am NOT feeling too Christian these days.

There are days I feel like laying my religion down. But every day I choose to pick up my cross and follow. On good days, I hoist it on my back and carry it with pride. Today, is not one of those days. Can’t tell if I am dragging the cross, or if it’s dragging me. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Mama Radford

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