Church is too often the most risky place to be spiritually honest. - Peter Enns
It's a challenging statement. And yet, most of us know exactly what it means. Of course, we are complex beings, thoroughly connected: body, mind, spirit. So being spiritually honest can be as difficult as revealing our mental illness, our emotional insecurities or our addictions.
How does this risk exist in too many churches? What contributes to our mask-wearing? Perhaps some of the following are true...
- Do we expect only joy should be expressed in corporate worship?
- Do we say "how are you?" with no intention of hearing what's true?
- Do we believe that Christ-followers should never feel depression, anxiety or suicidal ideation?
- Do we value closure and convincing over journey and process?
- Are we afraid our question of faith, of God, of doubt will raise concern about our "spirituality?"
- Do we fear our doubt will be met with an answer rather than an invitation to wrestle and sit with the mystery?
- Do we feel ill-equipped, even nervous if someone reveals what's true about their life?
- Do we feel the pressure to manage our own public image so people only think the best of us?
- Do we wear masks to hide the pain, because talking about it would somehow risk being as painful as the pain itself?
- Do we believe everyone else "has it all together" because everyone seems to?
- Does our theology suggest that to have a mental illness or a dark season means...
- we've sinned?
- we're not trusting God enough?
- we're falling out of God's grace somehow?
I'd love to hear from you.
How can we all impact the culture of the local church in a way that broken people hear the message of hope and redemption without rushing steps, ignoring what's true or inadvertently causing more shame?
Leave a comment below; join the conversation. Let's remove the risky nature of being honest in the local church.