True Confessions

Dear Church that Shall Remain Unnamed,

When I didn't have you, I dreamed of you.  I dreamt of being encouraged, inspired, enfolded into the flock of people just like me, struggling through life and sanctification together.  I did what I could to hang on from a distance: downloaded podcasts with my slower-than-dial-up Internet access, read articles, and occasionally communicated with a few faithful friends.  But as time went on, so grew the distance from familiarity and accountability.  I became more accustomed (though never fully comfortable) with the more charismatic style locally available. 

And then I returned.  All my wildest church dreams were about to come true.  The seemingly best part?  I could even return to a body of believers I was familiar with.  Faces I knew, just like me.  My expectations were about to be met, one by meaningless one.  Only, they weren't.

The simple truth is that I've changed.  The church hasn't changed that much.  Sure, staff members changed, families and individuals moved on or joined.  New programs were implemented, new babies added to the family, and different people become involved in different ways.  Individual lives have certainly changed in the midst of it all.

I still haven't quite figured out what irks me about you.  Why, sometimes, I just want to run out of the structured, predictable service as if I simply cannot take any more of it.  Why the music really grates on me, why I'm continually dissatisfied with the teaching.  Why I frequently wave my invisible stick of righteousness and stream of conscious thinking:
You don't really know the world out there beyond these walls.  You don't know the suffering, the pain, the hardship that they're going through across the parking lot, across the city, across the oceans. You're too wrapped up in your tidy little building with people who look exactly like you to notice. You think that donating--even sacrificing--money to missionaries and charities you read about and see occasional pictures of is enough to not be working in the trenches yourself, striving after all that is Pinterest-perfect and posting about it on other social media venues.  How many non-Christians are you friends with?  That you really reach out to and invite to share life with?  And you young, single girls.  My, do I have qualms with you.  Don't you know that there's more to life than being pretty and nice and making babies?  That you don't have to just find something to do until you get married?  Do you know your value beyond being desirable to a man and creating an inviting home?

This is what really got me riled up inside this week:  Why are you so caught up in battling your own sin?  Yes, we need to be privy to it, continually confessing.  But there comes a time to be forgiven and move on.  It's almost ironic how egocentric we've become in the midst of it.