Imperfect people

So I have the fortune of being part of the launch team for Rachel Held Evans' new book, Searching for Sunday. It's about what so many people go through - questioning the hypocrisy of so many churches, wondering where the real Jesus is in all the "show" - the REAL Jesus, not the shiny, John Lennon without glasses Jesus who only drinks Welch's Concord Grape Juice.

I'm finding myself highlighting things nearly every other page, and being so incredibly grateful to not be the only one who had all these questions that seemed to have the "wrong" answers, or answers I couldn't even get my head around. I am planning on writing a longer post when I'm done with the book, but when I read this passage, I had to stop and really mull it over:

"At its best, the church functions much like a recovery group, a safe place where a bunch of struggling, imperfect people come together to speak difficult truths to one another."

This means so much to me right now. I think it's easy to go to church and plaster on a smile and pretend everything is okay, but when things get harder, that gets harder and harder to do.

Right now things are hard for us. I lost my job in November when my company closed. Less than two weeks after I started temping where I am now, John lost his job. He's still looking, and I know he will find something but we just don't know when. It's scary. It's ugly. It stresses us both emotionally and spiritually and financially.

Right now I have a hard time walking in church and not just going straight to the altar and pouring out my heart (I tried that at a prayer service earlier this year. Suffice to say it was so hard when a well-meaning person came up and started praying right in my ear. I don't even go to the service she goes to anymore, just so I can avoid her.Because I don't know how to say "that was a personal, deeply spiritual pouring out of my heart that you interrupted." Just seems rude. I don't even know her name.)

But that's where my heart is. I need to know that I'm not the only one broken, and that I'm not the only one struggling right now. That facade of perfection is what pushed me away from church for a while in my twenties. But like Rachel, I felt it pulling me back the whole time. I knew there was more than what I'd experienced.

I'm so grateful for the United Methodist Church. I'm grateful my daughter will never have limits on how she can serve God, just because she's female. I'm grateful to see men AND women, sons AND daughters, proclaiming God's Word and sharing with our community. I'm grateful because we are all broken. and there is something comforting about liturgy.

I can't wait to share more with you from this book, and more about how deeply it's affecting me. Suffice to say this is a must-have, and I'm so happy to be part of this launch team.