This post is the closest I can come to a critical rant against church people, and, frankly, it’s not much of a rant at all. I was sitting at the lunch table with our staff yesterday (minus David), and somebody was cracking wise about how we could simply show certain people the door. Be reminded that the staff I speak of is a church staff and that the people we spoke of in our wisecracking were church people.
I’ll spare you the fun context, mostly because I really don’t want you know. Somewhere between ordering and eating, Jillian, pointing over Angela and at me, chimed, “That’s the third post. On difficult people.”
It took a moment for me to realize she was referring to this blog, bless her, and, then, after a second I decided she was right. I hadn’t said anything related to how churches can’t seem to dump our difficult people, how what the Bible calls “the Body” can’t seem to drop its unattractive members.
So, these last posts have turned into a one two three on me and difficult people. This last one today is about why the best place for difficult people–like me and probably you–is the church. Even if people who work for the church, or a church, joke from time to time about putting you out.
The truth is that one of the best and worst parts of our work is serving difficult people. Of course difficult takes on an expanded meaning for everything from thinking people with opinions which differ from mine to really really nutty people who I believe (and persons much more brilliant than me too) should be locked in a closest where only their relatives visit them in order to feed them and give them very expensive medications to keep them quiet. I’m joking with my exaggerated definition. I think.
But I want you to get an idea that the church is a group, an assembly, a bunch of people, many of whom have no place else to go in the first place. That’s not literally true, but it’s a view of people and of the church. It’s a view that says, in effect, people have no place to go with their best and worst and deepest needs outside of what good news is offered in and through the church. And when you add up those folks’ hopes and aspirations to be better or to be godly or to love others, you have to wonder where else can those people (and remember those people are you and me), where else can we go?