My Dad is a great storyteller. He has a wonderful laugh. When we were kids, he played with us as if he were a kid himself, only bigger. Dad has the coolest green eyes -- I'm grateful to have inherited them. When I watch Cosby reruns, I think of my Dad. He's smart, he's patient and strong. Dad likes singing and watching old Cowboy movies. He adores my Mom. Dad loves sports. He loves nature. And, he loves Jesus.
He loves to tell people about Jesus. My Dad started following Christ when he was 18, and he's never doubted that decision. Dad started preaching a few years after that, which was thirty-six years ago. He's a gifted, dynamic speaker. Yes, I'm biased, but it's still true. I know many people whose lives have been changed, because they met Jesus, through my Dad.
In October, my Mom and Dad moved to Indiana -- a place quite foreign and unknown to them -- to lead a small town church. They survived a long, cold, very gray winter. My mother ended up needing brain surgery in March, and the people there helped her and took care of my parents as if they were their own. The church began growing. We visited in April and I heard one of the best sermons my Dad's ever preached. Everyone i met told me how much they loved my Mom and Dad. On Easter Sunday, Dad baptized 9 people.
On Monday night, my Dad went to a meeting with the Elderboard. They began the meeting by telling him they weren't sure he was a good fit for the church. Dad ended the meeting by giving them his resignation.
It's not the first time he's been hurt like this, but it just has to be the last. He doesn't deserve to be treated this way. No one does. But it happens, again and again -- and not just to us. It happens all over. Doesn't it? Please tell me it's not just a curse on on him.
I'm serious, please tell me your war stories. We can't keep pretending everything's fine and the devil never succeeds. He does, and our dysfunctional church families are the proof.
So, you know the thing Augustine first said and Luther later quoted "The church is a whore, but she is my mother."
Well tonight's one of those times when the first half of that statement carries the most weight for me. And I don't have an answer as to why she keeps cheating. I don't know why she charges others for the love she gets for free. Don't give me the fallen world stuff -- tonight, that will not cut it. Tonight is tears over the phone and echoes of self doubt -- and, when I can muster, prayers for relief.
Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
PS -- this is mostly unedited, not really meant to be a thought provoking, well written essay -just some stuff in my heart that I needed to get out. No complementary comments please. Raw emotion is all that I will accept.