I stumbled upon a very interesting blog post recently. It was at Anne Jackson’s blog, FlowerDust.net.
The post, Keeping Your Mouth Shut, simply asked people to share some of the things that they don’t feel they can say in church or to other Christians.
At last check there’s around 180 responses from people with everything from plain old whinging to some revealing comments about the fear of being vulnerable.
I think it’s essential reading for anyone in church leadership. I don’t care how wonderful you think your church is, there will always be people who feel they just don’t measure up and they feel powerless to express their doubts. Anyone who thinks that no one in their pews is thinking some of these things is kidding themselves.
Surely the church should be a place where we can be open and honest in sharing the highs and lows of our journey.
There are humorous comments like this:
That comb-over really does need to go. Someone might lose an eye on a windy day!
That sometimes when there is a dramatic pause in my message, and I look like I’m waiting on God to give me something really powerful to say, I’m not. In reality I’m just wondering if I zipped up my zipper before I went up on stage.
To heartfelt messages like this:
I currently feel NO connection to God when I pray or read the Bible.
When I say “I’ll pray for you.” I don’t usually mean it. I have been a Christian for 27 years and I still don’t understand the point of praying.
My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.
Today we took a closer look at the things we don’t say in church and discussed some of the reasons we’re not as open as we should be.
You can hear our discussion by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.
Are there things you feel you can’t say in church or to other Christians?
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thanks for the link and i’m about to go to bed…but i look forward to listening to your discussion tomorrow!
No problem, Anne. Even though I’ve just discovered it, I love your blog. I’m looking forward to spending some time trawling the archives.
great post here…there is a true story behind the comb-over too!!!
anne’s blog is great, make sure you stay connected to the conversations on there!!!
I just want to say thanks for taking time and recognizing the importance of this topic and discussing it.
When I had wrote the “I current feel NO connection to God when I pray or read the Bible”, I was(still am) going through some pretty heart ripping stuff. I continue to stay in pray, I continue to read scripture, not because I can feel Him now, but because I know he is faithful, and is still there even if I can’t feel Him.
The journey is not always easy I’ve learned, and sometimes it hurts beyond what I ever imagined. But God is faithful.
Again, thanks for talking about this and seeing the importance to discuss it.
Hey Rodney, you should check out http://www.stuffchristianslike.com
Thanks for dropping in, Jon. I think we’ve all seen some pretty horrific comb-overs. 🙂
Yes, I intend on keeping up with Anne’s blog. I’ve added it to my Bloglines subscriptions and to the Blog List in my sidebar.
Kyle, thanks for having the courage to express what you’re going through. As you would have picked up from the radio segment, we were trying to say to people, “It’s OK if you’re going through doubts, others are too. Just don’t go it alone. There are others who will walk beside you and you can do the same when others are finding it tough.”
Oh Paula. I visited that site. I think I need a shower. 🙂
I can’t decide whether to buy the talking Jesus doll, the talking Moses doll or the talking John Paul II doll.
Great stuff Rodney. For the record “I’m the guy that left the comment about the zipper”. I’m excited to make Australian radio just not sure about the topic. Oh well, I guess we all have to be known for something.
First time on your blog and I look forward to coming back again real soon. Keep up the great work.
Good to hear from you, Pete.
Ross Clifford, who I was talking with on the radio, has a very amusing zipper story concerning Josh McDowell. He didn’t just wonder if his zipper was at half mast, it was and he didn’t know about it. 🙂
I look forward to seeing some more of your comments popping up from time to time here at my blog.
Yep, there are definitely things you can’t say around other Christians. It’s sad but Duncan and I are finding out exactly what topics NOT to raise, especially in my new church up here. I’m the kind of person who likes to have open and honest discussion about faith, theology and all sorts of things without there being a slanging match. Unfortunately, some people just can’t do that without trying to convert you to their own hobby horses (not salvation issues) and will bible bash you until you yield to their views. It’s sad because fellowship is destroyed over minor issues and we’re now learning to stay well clear of some issues around particular friends. This makes the friendship restrictive and awkward and we find that even if we’re silent, they’ll still bring it up and make it a big deal. Aah bring on heaven!
Sarah, I wonder if some people like to believe that life is all black and white because they find grey too scary.
Sure, there are black and white issues in life but there are many shades of grey which makes some people nervous. Trying so hard to convince you of something often has a lot to do with their own doubts and trying to convince themselves.
thank you for posting this… anne has a such an influence on the web and really knows how to initiate smart good, open conversations. keep reading her~
Thanks for dropping in, Crystal. I certainly intend to keep reading FlowerDust. You write a great blog yourself. 🙂
I really loved this post by Anne. In typical fashion, she forces us to think beyond the pew….anyway thanks for looking our way and continuing the discussion…
Thanks for your comment, Michael. I enjoyed a little snooping at your blog and noticed that you enjoy a little cycling. Good to find other riders online. 🙂
I loved your discussion. Friendlyatheist.com picked up Anne’s post as well and spoofed it “a little”. I was interested to see one person commented by askiing if that’s how Christians really feel, why do they still go to church. Here is the link to Anne’s follow up which will also link you to the friendly atheist site. http://www.flowerdust.net/2008/05/07/an-atheists-response-to-things-you-cant-say-in-church/
Love to ride… need to ride more… that seems to be the typical response these days. Basically life gets in the way of life sometimes…take care.