Sunday, April 30, 2006

Offense is in the eye of the beholder

The last church I was a part of was an independent, non-denominational one. OK...a charismatic church.

Charismatic churches seem to have a high turn over rate. That's a different post entirely.

But when someone who was once a part of one is no longer around...for ANY reason...they are always written off as "offended".

You know...they are offended. They just got mad and left. They have "issues" and they need to humble themselves and give it to the CEO. They're walking in "rebellion".

Offense, having issues, and rebellion: these are black-ball type labels. Or even a tar-n-feather type of scapegoating.

About a year ago I ran into the wife of one of the drummers I use to jam with, Antonio. He's the best drummer in the fair mother city. We were in the parking lot of HEB grocery and she just started spilling her frustration with some of the abuse tactics in the church and its leadership (she knew I wasn't there anymore). I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want to add any fuel to her fire. Plus, if church people knew she had talked to me (the poisoned one) they'd down-play me as offended, and thus one with no credibility. But I fully understood where she was coming from. I figured the CEO would make clear instructions for her and her husband in how to proceed.

I recently had opportunity to hang out with a bunch of people from the old charismatic club days at a birthday party. I don't care what they think of me anymore. I've got nothing to hide. So during a conversation with an old guitar playing buddy of mine I asked what happened to Antonio and his family.

"Oh, he got offended at something and left the church. I still see him now and then. He's working through some stuff".

??!?!?

I wonder if those money changers in the temple thought Jesus was a little "offended".

You know, he's mad and has some issues to work through...

Jesus will get back on board with us one day...

6 comments:

Mike said...

not totally unrelated...

if i don't comment on your blog for a while you can just assume that i have been offended and have issues to work through... as opposed to thinking that maybe your posts are boring.

Agent B said...

"maybe your posts are boring"

That's usually what I assumed your absence was about...

Pastor Phil said...

Just wait till you kicked out of a whole denomination because you have issues to work out.

Somehow desiring to walk through the process Jesus outlined in Matthew 18 has become evidence that one is in rebellion, and has not grown past being offended.

Perhaps we should start a new denomination - Church of the Offended Few.

Great log!

Anonymous said...

Came about this verse today and did not notice the 'offending' part before. When Jesus heard grumbling about eating his flesh and only coming to the Father through him, he said (John 6:61): "Does this offend you? ...." and later John states: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." I suspect that if I truly listened to what he had to say my senses and life would be offended. He'd probably be offended with the way I can be cavalier about my faith. Work in progress. Lil' sis

Mark said...

I know what it feels like to leave a church, and then return to the proverbial "birthday party" with a room full of pursed lips and awkward stares. Not with my most recent congregation, but from an earlier age, any post-"offense" interaction with congregants proved a social disaster. Meanwhile, other dropouts now form a cohesive network that occasionally get together to describe and bemoan their experiences at this church; thus the cycle of offense is complete. In the words of an inspired bluegrasser - "will the circle be unbroken?" If so, how can we work in the circle to bring healing?

Agent B said...

I think the healing IS the talking part. Talking amongst others in a healthy, non-bashing way. Admitting mistakes, confessing, forgiving, moving on, and not doing to others what may have been done to you.

That's my guess.