Church is Like A White Man Throwing Stones at a Black Kid
What Church Means To Me:
Church is like a white man throwing stones at a black kid. Wait, let me try that again.
Church is like the cool kids who make the nerds feel bad. Hold on, I can get this right.
Church is like a bad meal at a great restaurant. Yeah, now I got it. Let me explain…
For every reason I could list for going to church (and I do), I have twice as many reasons not to. First of all, church people tolerate sin about as well as the KKK tolerates black people. My husband is black. I am white, literally. Our family picture resembles Alexander Rodchenko’s painting, “White Circle.” Me being the white circle of course (picture below). When we began dating I boldly exclaimed, “Racism is a thing of the past. People know better now.” After responding with what the theatrical community would call a ‘spit take,’ he began to not just educate, but show me the error of my ways. It was not long before I myself experienced the racism I thought was long gone, but never so extreme as the stories he told. All of them were appalling but the one that angered me most was how the adult white men in his neighborhood would throw rocks at him as he walked home from elementary school. “And you don’t hate white people?” I asked. “No. The individuals who did that were just ignorant.” He explained. If he had let the crimes of his perpetrators color his perspective of all white people, we would have never gotten married. I am so thankful for his wisdom. Do you see where I am going?
Secondly, churches have all the social dynamics of the average American high school. You’ve got your ‘cool kids,’ these are the upper classman (been there for years), wear all the right clothes (modesty is the trend), and know just what to say in every situation (they didn’t just memorize the verse, they memorized the book). You’ve got your ‘jocks’, these are the ones who apply their skills on ‘the field’ (they are the people who serve at your church in various capacities), wear a uniform on game day (dress up for church), and sometimes receive special graces only extended to those who bring in the big crowds. And of course, your ‘nerds’, the people everyone feels sorry for but no one wants to hang out with. If you didn’t fare well in high school, church may not be any easier.
Thirdly, churches are like restaurants employed by volunteers. Sometimes the service is bad, you can’t find a good seat, and your kids’ behavior lets you know they hate it. It may be an off day or you may need to do a little more searching, but don’t give up after the first try.
If you don’t want to go to church, you don’t have to look very hard to find a reason not to. You also don’t have to look very hard to find a reason not to do a lot of things. To do anything, all you need is one very good reason to do it that trumps all of the bad ones. So why do I go?
The explanation is not that I am masochistic. I take no pleasure in pain. Nor am I legalistic, although the Bible does say not to forsake the gathering of believers, Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)”. Also worth mentioning, Jesus went to church as Luke 4:16 says, "He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom." (NIV)
I go to church because nothing is all good or all bad; not white people, not black people, not restaurants, not high school, nor the teenagers that fill them. We live in a world that is a confusing blend of good and bad all at once. We will have just as much luck at separating the good from the bad as we would have at separating the egg from the yolk, after it has been baked into the cake. I choose to see the good, or sometimes find the good when it is hard to see. Churches are a confusing blend of good and bad, like the people who fill them, like me. The church is the body of Christ, which I am a part of because I follow Jesus Christ. The believers are members of that body, which I am a part of as long as I follow Jesus Christ. Whether working together or working apart, we are all a part of this body called church. But in my experience, the body works best when we work together. We work together best when we come together. We come together at church.