Friday, September 09, 2011
Good Start - Keep Going
If you are someone who has been wounded, mistreated or scorned by the Church, I submit the following to you as an apology. In the final analysis, it is all I really have to give you.Now - how do we do church differently so that we handle better all those situation he describes? Seeking forgiveness is the best possible start, but reconciliation can only come when we use the forgiveness we gain to do better.
I ask your forgiveness for the ongoing corruption of the church at large since the early days of the church, for I believe that it is a sin to use the church for personal or political gain.
I ask your forgiveness for every sidewalk and soap-box preacher who has so much as cracked upon a Bible with anger or pride in his heart, for I believe that it is a sin to misrepresent the character of a loving God.
I ask your forgiveness for every misspent dime that was ever placed in an offering plate, for I believe that it is a sin to waste an old lady’s tithe.
I ask your forgiveness for every sin of every priest, pastor, minister, reverend, teacher, elder, deacon, pope, nun, monk, missionary, Sunday school teacher, worship leader, and for every Christian who has ever come into your life for any other reason than to love you. If any of us came to you and hurt you, we are the ones at fault. On our behalf, let me say that I am very sorry. It’s not who we are supposed to be.
And lastly for me. I am no better than the rest. I am no role model. I’m misguided. I get confused a lot and I have hurt people in my misguided attempts to be “Christian.” I have not always loved God or the people around me. I am ashamed of me much of the time. I am ashamed of my people who have hurt you.But I am not ashamed of the gospel. I am not ashamed of the good news that God has come near to you and is right now available to you through Jesus. I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is power from a loving God who can save you. He can save us. All of us. Even us Christians.
The first thing I can think of is to make this confession and begging of forgiveness a daily activity. But this has to be more than words - I have many good models of individual humility, but how to make a humble institution?