a losing battle

Tonight I was on an online forum created for a passionate, active movement of Christian teens. They believed that young people could do hard things, too. Could change the worlds.

There were project forums, and teenagers all across the world banded together with projects like sending toys to orphanages in Haiti, making quilts for crisis pregnancy centers, combating human trafficking, building wells in poor villages in Uganda, packing meals for homeless shelters.

We were united, strong, passionate, willing to change things and unwilling to get comfortable.

Together, we were figuring it out. We were finding Jesus. We were full of love, hope, enthusiasm.

We were doing something.

But something changed. We lost sight of our first love.

I didn’t even realize it at one point, but I slowly drifted away from it. I was doing my own projects, busy with my own life, cross-country, working at Birthright, everything else that happened in the fall of ninth grade.

Only recently I rediscovered the shambles of this once-vibrant movement.

Every single “action” project was about politics.

No more digging wells or making quilts.

No more doing.

A lot of websites, a lot of petitions, a lot of useless prayers to save a country that doesn’t want to be saved by politics.

A lot of self-righteous people talking about godly politics. Funny how our country’s political system is based on the political system of “pagan” Athens. Not God.

A lot of talk about freedom and rights, when freedom has nothing to do with a country’s policy and everything to do with a cross.

But I’ve stayed a member of these forums. I keep posting, asking, trying to wake someone up. Trying to find someone, anyone, who thinks there’s something wrong. Who thinks that Christianity is more than being Republican and voting for the church-approved candidate.

I’m frustrated.  Disappointed. Angry.

But I keep coming back. I keep trying.

I’m doing the same thing with my youth group, a place full of cliques, and perfect plastic faces, and youth leaders who want to look and sound good.

I keep coming back.

Why do I try, at this point? Why do I keep coming back to this pain and frustration? Why do I fight with this desire to cut and run from these two groups? Why do I fight this losing battle?

The church- the supposed body of Christ- has hurt too many people I love. Yet in it are also people I love, a lot.

How do I reconcile this?

At this point I know I’m following Jesus (umm, actually, trying. and failing a lot). And I’m trying to love Him, but I don’t know anymore if the church cares about this anymore…

What do you think? What is the church’s purpose? Has it strayed from that or is it still true to its purpose? What would Jesus think of my forum or youth group?

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10 thoughts on “a losing battle

  1. A passionate, honest post, Mary. You always make me think.

    I think that the American church is lost in a lot of ways … but the worldwide church is Christ’s bride, and I just can’t believe that He would ALLOW His bride to stray TOO far.

    I don’t know. It’s late, and I can’t back up my statement with scripture, but I just know that in my life, God has been a relentless pursuer, and I believe He would do this and does do this for His bride.

    1. Good point- it is the American church I have a problem with, not the worldwide church. The American church seems like it wants to be lost. We’re happy with stained glass and comfortable seats and leaving God as something for Sunday mornings.

  2. There is no purpose to life, your belief is as you have found it… worthless. If you wish to discuss what there is without it, I am willing. I have been there, done that… I have walked your path. Doubt? No problems… there is what is. I will discuss as you wish, and not run from or declare off-limits the hard questions.

    I wish you well.

    1. Thank you for your response. At this point I am sure of what I believe: I believe in a Rescuer, a Paradox, a Savior- Jesus Christ. He has proved Himself to me over and over and over again. Without Him I would not have survived. It is the church, with all of its legalism and apathy, that I have a problem with.
      Thank you, though, for your honesty and willingness to discuss. I appreciate that a lot.

  3. I agree with you, Mary. The church has strayed so far away from the gospel! So many christians are trying to make a difference in the world…..by only helping people stay alive longer, such as orphanages, hospitals, food, money, etc. These things are definetly not wrong, and they are a wonderful thing, but the focus has gotten off of the reason we are here! Intsead of pulling the drowing person out of the raging sea and into the boat, we are throwing a board down to him to float on! Again, I am totally not saying those kinds of help are wrong! But when we serve, do we have the right motive in mind? Are we doing it with the TOTAL and MAIN focus being in winning them to Christ? Is that the thing we talk about the most? Or is it more about how to get “such and such organization” better? Sorry ramble about that, but it has been on my heart! 🙂

    Mary, Christ’s comission for us as Christians has definetly not changed, though. We are still called to be faithful and bold ambassadors for His kingdom. I can truly understand your frusteration! I have been in situations like that before….it is so sad to see people who were once all out for Christ, just backsliding and not even caring anymore! (Sometimes it makes you wonder…where was the love of Christ?) But, Mary, and all the others out there, don’t let that make you backslide! “Run with patience the race that is set before you!” Don’t ever give up.

    Christian sisters (and brothers), the Bible calls us a peculiar people. We are to be different. If we are truly loving, serving, and abiding in Christ, we WILL be different! We are the minority (sadly), but God has work for you to do! (“Though no one joins me, still I will follow”:)

    Don’t give up! Be all out for Christ! He is all that matters! Praying for you…..I have been in your place. ❤

  4. Yikeees!

    Between Calvinism, the (hyper)Patriarchal Movement, and every other derivative loosely associated with the Gospel, it is so hard to even know what the hard (right) thing to do is anymore. My son told me the other day as he left for a weekend of camping, “Mom, I always like to bring my Bible with me when I’m away, because when I read the verses it makes me think of you.”

    Okay. I’m done. If that’s the closest thing to calling me blessed my son ever does, I’ll take it.

    Our family’s mission field is close to home – the grocery store, the restaurants, the workmen who come to our home. They see the love we have for each other and we usually send them off with a Gospel tract. Is that enough? I wonder, I really do.

    Politics are important, projects are important, sharing the Gospel is important, patriarchal leadership is important, loving our spouses, our family is important – but when we get too focused on one to the exclusion of the others, our “testimony” tends to look to outsiders (and insiders) as hypocritical and unattractive. Should we all just do what we’re best at and leave the rest to everybody else? That doesn’t seem to be the answer.

    It takes me back to just always looking to do the next right thing and praying to stay in God’s will.

    Working with teens is so important – please don’t be discouraged. Even if every single one of them turns away at some point, it may be the lesson you taught on a typical Wednesday night that takes root in their heart and brings them back. You may be the person that they look back on and say, “So, that’s what the Love of Christ looks like.”

    Blessings to you,
    Alyson

    1. Just to be clear, I am a teen myself- not someone leading teens. I am someone frustrated with the apathy amongst “Christian” teens who think that patriarchal leadership, good politics, and strong arguments will save them and the world.

      Thank you for your response- I don’t agree with you about politics and patriarchal leadership being important, but I agree that it’s hard to sometimes know what’s right.

      Thank you for your encouragement!

      1. Oh, sorry, I guess I should have looked at the about page. No wonder I got confused when you talked about what you did in 9th grade.

        I have found that the more I study the word, the better my discernment is about the things that are important. I.E. there is scripture that talks about true religion being about caring for orphans and the elderly – hence, when I have the opportunity to serve the fatherless or the elderly, I recognize it at the top of my priority list.

        Keep asking the hard questions, and keep serving, and even though I understand now that you are a teen and not an adult leader, the encouragement is the same – keep showing up, keep shining the light, keep being a good example with your life and your service, but make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. As Christians, it is easy to get caught up in being a good example with a prideful spirit, but being a good example should be the result of living the Christian life wholeheartedly.

        You are a very good writer and a deep thinker. It never occured to me you were a teen – you write so well. My prayers are with you.

        Blessings,
        Alyson

      2. Thank you again Alyson! I agree completely that serving is a top priority- I just don’t think politics are. I don’t think there is a system of “godly politics” or “godly economics,” phrases I hear too often from other Christians.
        Thank you for your encouragement!

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