Thursday, May 22, 2008

Forgiving the Church

When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, "I love Jesus, but I hate the Church," we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.

It is important to think about the Church not as "over there" but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer.

-Henry Nouwen, Bread For the Journey, October 27 entry


Communion of Glitches said...

I've been thinking lately about what the Church is. So many of us grow up thinking of the Church as a set of doctrines and offices and rulebooks and not as people. It's easy to feel alienated and rejected by the institution, but that also distances us from the people. I wonder how many "ex-Church people" would still be "Church people" if the Church felt more like a group of similar, struggling people than a cold, institutional set of policies and punishments.

BentonQuest said...

I have always found it interesting how younger folks (high school) persit in the belief that it is possible to be Christian without being a part of the church. I agree, when we reject the church, we are rejeting Jesus. My feeling is that we can only truly be Christian when we are Christian in community. Unfortunately, for many GLBT folks, the church does not make it easy to remain part of the community.