Church and the Silence Conspiracy

8:47 PM

(January 12, 2014) You smooth out a faint wrinkle in the blue cotton material and push the fabric down so it is only a couple inches above your knees. One last look in the mirror, and a heavy sigh realizing you just don't feel it. Immediately after entering the church you are greeted by a woman in your cell group. A close friend.

"Hey sister! How are you today?" She asks, giving a gentle hug.
"I'm so great!" You lie. "But how is your heart today?"
"I've been working on my testimony this week. I feel so excited to share the blessings that God has given me. But really, what about you?" She asks, eyes drifting to the left.
"Well, this week God has really reminded me about the importance of being intentional with my friendships."
"It's a total God thing. He really spoke to me." You smile.
"Mhmm." She says again. "Well I will just cover this in prayer."
"Thanks. I appreciate it. I will pray for you too." You walk away, totally forgetting what you're supposed to pray about.
You don't mention how you never feel good enough. You don't confess those fleeting thoughts of ending your life. You don't tell her about the glass of wine you have every night after work just to take the edge off. You don't mention about the guy you slept with two nights ago and how you don't even know his last name. You never mention the doubt you feel about your salvation. 

It's not just her, you don't tell anyone those things. It's private. 

If you're like me, going to church can be exhausting. It's as if you have to prepare the correct behavior while in a certain building. If you really shared with the other members of the church, you could be judged and lose all credibility. Who would want your advice if they knew who you really were?

A pastor of the church rarely invites the congregation into his present struggle with sin. Many Christians are eager to tell of their big past sin and how Christ changed their life after conversion. Very few are willing to open up to the big sin that troubles them today.

Barbara Duguid in her book, Extravagent Grace discusses John Newton's powerful position on sanctification. She argues that Newton is correct because he is willing to admit his current struggle with sin. Duguid suggests that because of Newton's confidence in God's love for both himself and the people he helps, there is freedom to refuse to participate in the "conspiracy of silence." (Duguid, 28.) 

Can you imagine a church where everyone talks about the things that they struggle with? No one looks down on each other because everyone is open about it. Brothers and sisters in Christ support each other and encourage one another with Biblical truths. 

Instead, some of us enter the church in a mask. We comment only what is socially acceptable by our Christian friends, and share just the little sins we struggle with. We don't talk about our secret addictions to pornography, our obsession with losing weight, our inward desire to end someone's life, or our lustful thoughts about our neighbor's spouse... No we don't share those things. 

Jefferson Bethke, in his iconic spoken word says, "Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean. It's not a museum for good people, it's a hospital for the broken." 

Is your church a hospital where patients cry out in pain, or a museum where making any noise is frowned upon?

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  1. I stumble upon your blog after the cute joke you left in a conversation in Relevant. Your writing is thought provoking. Keep on writing.


About me

Regina is a junior at a small college in the middle of nowhere. She dreams of moving to California, painting, writing letters, thrifting, and cuddling with a dog.

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