This started out as one thing and became another. I anticipate follow up posts but I never really know what God has planned for my writing.
I have spent the last several decades as part of America’s evangelical Christian subculture. It’s nice here. The people are nice. The message is nice. The coffee is nice. We keep it neat and tidy – from the clothes we deem acceptable, to the music we say we listen to, to the shows we admit we watch, to the language we use to whitewash our sin. Stop by and if you don’t look too closely you’ll see that everything is really, really nice.
It’s like nice is our unspoken brand. We mean well. We think if we make everything nice we’ll be able to convince everyone that Jesus is nice and if we convince everyone that Jesus is nice, then maybe they’ll choose to follow Jesus. And we really, truly do want everyone to know Jesus like we know Jesus.
But Jesus was more than nice. Jesus was Real. Jesus was kind and compassionate and brave but he was also sad and angry and afraid. He was quiet and he was loud. He fasted and he feasted. He laughed and he wept. He was the Prince of Peace and he flipped tables.
People, can we please start being more than just “nice”? Can we be Real, too?
I know a lot of you are going to say YES! but have you considered what it means to be really Real? I don’t just mean honest about our feelings Real. I mean:
On our knees before a holy God weeping Real
On our knees before a holy God weeping because of OUR OWN SIN Real
On our knees before a holy God weeping because of OUR OWN SIN, pleading with Him to heal us, to restore us, to restore His Church and to make us one for His glory Real
We can’t be Real without Repentance and Lament and Revelation and Restoration. Real is ugly and painful and humiliating and messy. But it’s also beautiful. And it’s the only way…the ONLY way to Revival.
The Church has a voice…we have a responsibility to speak…but it’s not our voice. We have been called and knit together to be HIS Voice to a dark, lost, hurting world.
But how can we speak God’s message of hope and love and peace to the world when we can’t even speak to each other?
We are people divided and a People divided.
We are families divided and a Family divided.
We are churches divided and a Church divided.
My heart grieves. I am being broken open, crushed beneath the weight of a generation of white-washed tombs. I bleed tears but sometimes I feel like the tears are bleeding me. Bleeding you. Bleeding a nation.
Who am I when I haven’t taken communion in THREE YEARS because my heart is not reconciled to my brothers and sisters? Who am I when I haven’t taken communion in THREE YEARS because I am so angry at a God who continues to hurt and disappoint me? How can I NOT weep and wail with my face in the dirt, terrified by my own hard and bitter heart?
Who are you when you continue to take communion even though you leave trampled hearts in your wake and have not yet taken responsibility for it because you do not know, cannot see, (refuse to see?) the truth about what you have done, the damage you have caused?
Who are we when we refuse to face the truth about our sin, our depravity, our selfishness, our ignorance, our arrogance, our greed, our laziness, our hypocrisy, our pride, our sin, our sin, our sin, our sin?
Who are we? What are we doing? Where is our God? When will He answer?
I am breaking. I am bleeding. I am exhausted.
Is anybody listening?
© Nichole Q. Perreault