from the title of my blog you probably have ascertained that i do not consider myself a stalwart of the christian faith. i do not measure up to the giants of the faith such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and the myriad of others from the distant past. I do not consider myself even in the league of the moderns such as Desmond Tutu, Mother Theresa or Billy Graham. i am and have always been a wretched sinner.
i have been a christian now for almost 27 years and i have come to discover that the “sanctification” promised at the beginning of my christian journey by well-meaning pastors and “mature” members of the faith, is so small, so miniscule, that i feel incredibly inadequate. every day i wake up and feel like i do not fit into the christian culture. that somehow i am missing the secret to being one of those toothy smiling preachers on the cover of their newest book. i wake up and do not feel successful, prosperous, sinless, victorious, or powerful. there are days of doubt, fear, and yes even loathing of my sin. and then there are days i wallow in my sinfulness with youthful abandon (and i am clearly not a youth). and finally, there is sin that has clung to me for as long as i can remember, its poisonous tentacles wrapped tightly around my heart.
with all of this in my life, i often wonder if i am the only one that has these struggles, these grand lapses away from living the joyous, holy, righteous life. there are days, weeks and months that i feel so very alone in my darkness. the promises of scripture lay on the pages of the bible like cold lifeless eyes staring at me,boring into my soul, mocking me in my weaknesses.
this is my struggle. but it is this very struggle that is foundational to the passion i have for the church. how can this deep, unrelenting inner conflict lead to a passion for the Body of Christ? because knowing my failures makes me run to, and fall at, the foot of the Cross. it makes real the uncharted depths of the LOVE and FORGIVENESS and MERCY and GRACE of God. knowing my unworthiness shows me that through Christ, God can and does love me unconditionally, forever and for always. it is beyond any understanding on my part that i can comprehend this. yet there it is! Christ opened the way for God to love me, to never be angry again with me, and in fact, to be even fond of me (it is funny that even in typing that last sentence i felt a bit of shame and “undeservedness”, but that is the whole point, it is not about me). out of this limited understanding of God’s amazing love and grace, flows my frustration, and anger with the church.
I do not believe that in the church i am the only one with internal torment, self doubts, and lifelong struggles. there are more, many more. but they suffer in silence, or sneak out the back door of the church never to return because they cannot measure up to the perceived standard. but it never has been about measuring up, or being good or nice, or following the rules and traditions and regulations of whatever denomination you find yourself. IT IS ABOUT JESUS and the freedom of living in His love and grace, so that no matter how bad you “F” it up, He is there to put you back on your feet and move you forward. i have to believe that it is seeking a better understanding of this love from God that one actually begins to grow in obedience and holiness.
this is the message and the burning internal passion that drives me. Jesus said, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”, and that in knowing the “Truth” you will be set you free! i want more of that for myself, i want more of that for the people in the church for which i have a great love and burden, and i want that for those in the world that long for more to life , and long to be really loved and completely accepted, and ache to feel a comforting embrace.
that should be the message of the church….because it is the heart of God.