What Kind of People are Welcome Here?

At 7:04 am this morning a text message showed up from Maria. Maria is one of the new leaders at City Church, and she’s coming from a world where a lot of her  friends have suffered at the hands of Christians. Maria sent along the end of the conversation she’d just had with a friend after inviting her to church and to meet me and Jason:

Friend: what if I meet your pastor and I like him but I don’t trust him?

Maria: Well that’s probably gonna happen. How can you expect to trust anybody especially a pastor after what you have been through?

Friend: Hmmm… I guess you are right.

Maria: you absolutely have every right to be unsure. But I am glad you are thinking about it. That’s extremely courageous. My pastors are not assholes.

There are a few things that made me glad when I read this text:

  1. That God is still at work in this woman whose been hurt by the church, that she’s still asking spiritual questions and is still seeking something more.
  2. That there’s a Christian out there who is sensitive to the pain of others, who can affirm that they aren’t crazy for distrusting the church, and who sees the courage it takes to step into a spiritual community.
  3. That at least one person doesn’t think I’m an asshole

I’m reminded of how gentle Jesus was with those like this woman.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Jesus, from Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message

By Bill White