cranky at the church

I know that I am often cranky at ‘the church’.

My local church wherever they have been or are, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the local church, the world wide church. I’m a very ecumenical man in my crankiness.

This crankiness seems to be in the family genes a bit from conversations I’ve had with family members, this frustration with the way things are and have been. Some of the crankiness is perhaps legitimate.

I know that holding on to anger is not a good place to be, that being cynical and frustrated with church is not a good place to be, but it’s hard to move on from it sometimes.
dylan043
There are probably lots of different reasons for the crankiness levels and all those reasons are playing off each other at different times but I reckon the main problem is that I take out my frustrations, my disappointments and anger with God in my own personal life out on the church. When I say personal life I also mean things like ‘Why hasn’t this worked out, I’ve tried so hard?’ or ‘Why does this keep on happening to this person?’ or ‘How could you allow this genocide to happen?

I can’t see God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit but if the church is somehow ‘the body of Christ’ something which I can see that with my own two eyes, and hear with my ears and experience in my ordinary week then maybe its not surprising that my complaints and frustrations with God are projected on to the next best thing, the church.

Perhaps specifically this might lead to extreme grumpiness with a minister, a priest or pastor because we assume that they’re the professional God people and if anyone should know what God is up to it should be them.

Everybody who knows me knows that I’ve a bit of miserable sod the past few years.
I’ve wanted things to be a bit easier than they’ve been,
to not feel like I’ve been in exile or what have you,
but things have just clunked along with feet of lead, or feet of clay, perhaps one foot lead, the other clay.
God has seemed silent or a figment of my imagination, a fairy tale sometimes because where is he in the ordinary day. It is my own fault as well of course, I haven’t done things that would have helped.

Yet I have no shame in saying that I’m weak. I needed help to do things I that I don’t find easy to do and God seemed silent. H____ quoted C.S. Lewis in her sermon a few weeks.

“When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be — or so it feels— welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.”

I’d feel embarrassed or ashamed to call my experience suffering compared to what I know others have had to go through and are going through. Yet it’s this feeling that God has somehow left the building that is wearing me down and making me cranky. Of course it’s not all about meeting Jesus in the rose garden but it all just seems to much weighted towards struggle and lacking in the miraculous.

I guess that I’ve been reflecting on this stuff a bit as we think about what is going to happen next. It worries me a bit having so much crankiness fuel stored up in the tank for the road ahead.

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1 thought on “cranky at the church”

  1. one of the best things I’ve read on “suffering” was Jerry Sittser’s “A grace disguised”. He was particularly helpful o the “My suffering’s not that great compared to others” myth. He lost his daughter wife and mother in a RTA in which he was driving. So he heard loads of people saying this to him, and he always retorted by showing how suffering is real, it is not relative. It’s NEVER relative. For someone in the midst of a broken friendship, depression, redundancy, loss, their suffering is real and has its own integrity and should not be minimised. This also prevents us from refusing help from someone who hasn’t suffered, as we see it, as much as we have (“Ah but if you had been through what I have been through”). The whole book is a gem.

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