When does bible thumping crush us?

by Bene Diction on January 24, 2005

There was a time I looked very seriously at chaplaincy work. Very seriously.
I contacted a university, looked at the options, and would have been able to clear the financial debt if I’d made it through. I was encouraged and welcomed with open arms.

I wanted to be a police chaplain, to be a caretaker to the caretakers and would have been glad to be a hospital chaplain.
In Canada, the goverment is the hirer, and a M Div. is required. It is a rewarding living and service for those I know that have been called to it.

I couldn’t do it. At the last minute I backed away, and I backed away for a reason that may make no sense to my minister blogging friends.
I couldn’t handle the thought of doing a two year posting in a church. (a requirement for the degree and certification)
The mentoring could have been terrific, the fellowship rich - but the thought of church board meetings in their various shapes and forms for two years absolutely crushed me. I knew that even if I gritted my teeth to suffer through, I was not psychologically or spiritually equipped to make the grade.

I don’t regret backing off, but it was difficult at the time.
I catch glimpses of that crushing of spirit that I knew would have occurred, from time to time on my blog.
I’m not talking about sacrifice, or dying to self, or maturing, I’m talking about what I knew would snuff out hope. I believe hope is a gift and obligation to be norished, and directed, not extinguished. It does not exist well without love and faith standing with it.

Church board meetings seem such a small price to pay for an opportunity to serve in what I believe is a productive and vital way.

But those glimpses…I caught one on my blog this past week. Sideswiped me. Never saw it coming. Since I comment on US policy from time to time, I’m relatively used to the rough and tumble. But this. I dunno.
I did a piece on a pro-active way to deal with comment spam, and used a line from the 1976 movie Network as the title.
I didn’t use it callously or ignorantly, and moved on. A fair number of non-believers come to my blog. They would have understood the reference, many believers would to, and would not see it as this commenter saw it.

A Christian came into the comments and let me know (using scripture) that I was way out of line.
Thing is, the scripture used to correct me is true and is something I try to submit to daily.
I wish I could have shrugged it off.

It is deeper than that though. I know I don’t measure up, I know my life doesn’t glorify God all the time, I know I sin. I know that I may cause others to sin.
I was facing my church board meetings so to speak in the comment section of all places. And rather than being convicted, I got ko’d.

God has never ever done that. In the deepest times of repentance, conviction and seeking in my life, He has never crushed that spark. I’ve never seen God crush others who seek Him. Even when I’ve romped or drifted away from Him, or amused myself with things that did not honour Jesus Christ, God has never crushed. His correction is not harsh for He meets, heals and walks alongside.

So what is it about church board meetings and some of his people that can leave me ko’d?
I honestly don’t know the answer.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }


Dr.MR 01.25.05 at 12:31 am

It is true that some Christians shoot their wounded, but not all Christians do; similarly, some boards are toxic, but not all of them are. Your point is a good and valid one, but your brush may be a bit too broad.

I have been a police chaplain (a volunteer position here) and you are right: it is very rewarding (not to mention fun) work.


Richard 01.25.05 at 1:11 am

I don’t know whether your “brush is too broad” BD — after all, you can only write from your own experience.
As for your commenter, he had the air of effortless superiority that some Christians carry. I’m not sure how it is supposed to be glorifying to God.


Bene Diction 01.25.05 at 1:50 am

There in lies the rub.
He is a rather stressed out cop.
These comments under this post strike me as funny.
The superiority is very needed on his job, however, our friend doesn’t have an off switch.
I’ll be happy to send him down to your blog Dr.MR, he does tend to wear the most patient bloggers a bit thin.:^)


Wood 01.25.05 at 4:40 pm

Well, you’ve really just got to learn your lesson, vis a vis: next time, when you want to say “hell” you should think seriously about saying “fuck” instead.


Richard 01.25.05 at 5:48 pm

You win today’s gratuitous anglo-saxonism award, Wood.


Bene Diction 01.25.05 at 8:59 pm

Ah, yes, the infamous acroynm from British Common law.:^)
He is already nuclear, major high needs guy, he’s still fuming about hell.


Wood 01.25.05 at 9:12 pm

Always at hand to deliver gratuitous industrial strength anglo0saxon when it’s least welcome, Richard… :)


Darren 01.27.05 at 11:22 am

Hi Comment reminded me of the old Story about Tony Campolo (sorry if you’ve heard it 100 times before - I have too) where he was talking to some Christians and said in the middle of his talk:

“Millions of Americans will go to bed hungry tonight on a cold street,” he said, “and most of you don’t give a shit.”

The students stirred.

“In fact,” he continued, “most of you are more scandalized that I just used the word ’shit’ in chapel than you are that millions of people are homeless.”

Sometimes people get so caught up by the little nit picky things and by pass the bigger picture - the bigger picture in the case you’re talking about Bene might not be a massive issue like the homeless - but none the less he failed to see the context of your post - failed to acknowledge the frustration you wrote it out of, failed to respond in love (even if he’d challenged you with a little more love I’m sure you would have responded differently) and failed to really see that perhaps there was another point of view.

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