…that have literally saved my life! It has been said that the best thing that can happen to you is that you become disillusioned. Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest, “Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions.”
I love the church, but the church isn’t what I thought it was as I was growing up. I write about this dichotomy a lot—how the church appears to be one thing and is, in reality, often another. That doesn’t suggest that the church is a bad place. Rather it gives perspective and clarity to what the church is in reality, and I find that refreshing.
The church is not a place for righteous people
Were the church a place for perfect people, none of us would ever work in one, or even go to one. As a child, in a rather conservative Evangelical congregation, I felt like a perpetually underachieving Christian. I had not yet learned that everyone sitting in the sanctuary held at least some of those inadequacy beliefs.
Accepting your portion of guilt is the precursor to understanding your need for Grace. Without that singular disillusionment, I would not be writing this article.
The church is full of institutional politics
I don’t know about you, but I get tired of non-Christians trying to beat me up by saying that the church is full of hypocrites and is more political than Washington, D.C. Well…yeah! Institutions were meant (are always meant) to serve people, but the reverse is many times true. If there are parking lots to pave, trees to trim, and electric bills to be paid, you will find politics firmly ensconced there!
We need to get over being ashamed of our dependence on institutional order and structure which are usually defined by a modicum of disorder, disarray—and politics.
The church is not a place for comfortable employment
Am I preaching to the choir here? I suspect I am. Every “professional” Christian should understand that part of accepting a call to ministry is accepting the pain of imperfect dealings with people. There is, in reality, very little difference between the corporate world and the church world when it comes to angst.
The church eats its wounded
It does, you know. For every example of a church beautifully and gracefully restoring fallen heroes, there are outrageous numbers of botched exits, forced and otherwise, that are described to me daily in emails with bloody “fingerprints” all over them.
If I were a futurist, I would probably intuit that there will be less of this phenomenon in the church that is to come. Churches are already slightly embarrassed that they are known by the great majority of the unchurched masses for their harsh judgmentalism. That had better change, and soon.
The church doesn’t get it
Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Though the Church acts as an agent for Jesus, they often also think that some part of their goodness as a programatic entity is responsible for the salvation of man.
Really. They believe that they are more capable and holy than any other church in town. Have you ever been witness to this? Look around.
The church doesn’t need me in order to be the church
The most important revelation and disillusionment for me has been the beautifully God-given understanding that I am not pivotal to the church’s success or failure—well, perhaps its failure. As I have observed pastors and other church leaders move through various transitions of employment and paradigm shifts, I am saddened by how many of them believe they are indispensable.
Obviously that is not the case, but identity issues have prevented many leaders from seeing themselves in the greater scheme of church history and service. One pastor I know found it impossible to retire (at age 87) because his misled perception was that the church would fall apart without him. When he died a year later, it didn’t.
“The shadow of victory is disillusion.” —Winston Churchill
Source: CHURCH CENTRAL