Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A piece of childhood recovered, pt 2

A bit of a rant-let, this morning:

I have noticed, in my neck of the Christian woods, that it has become increasingly popular in the last 10-15 years to highlight our human brokenness. More and more songs are written along the lines of, "I'm messed up. Jesus, fix me."

Culturally, I can see where this is coming from. The world is a mess. The nuclear family is more and more rare. "Victim" is the watchword of the era. We're all victims of an abusive childhood, multiple failed relationships, unfair employment situations, corrupt government, et al. It is fashionable now to put our neuroses on display. So, the church has become the psychiatrist's couch upon which we confess how truly screwed up we are, and plead for healing from Dr God.

Of course, theologically, we ARE all broken. We ARE sinful and unable to save ourselves. We ARE weak toward temptation, and in need of his strength. Fair enough. But at what point does it all just descend into whining?

There was a time (not that long ago in the Bible Belt) when people who admitted that they were drowning in their personal issues were pretty rare, outside of AA, perhaps. One did not air one's dirty laundry in public. Now, folks who are blessed to have it pretty well together are the minority!

My parents are both Christians, monogamously married to one another. They were married to each other when my sister and I were both conceived. My extended family have all been decent Christian folks. I'm straight and single because I want to be. I've had a "Leave it to Beaver" kind of life, I guess. I'm not bragging, but it certainly makes me an outsider, "out of touch" with the world in which I live.

Perhaps the church is just becoming more honest about deep-seated hurts that have always been there, but have simply been ignored. Or maybe our self-pity-loving culture has infiltrated the church. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be honest and address real, existing issues. I'm just wondering, would the Scriptures read differently if modern psychology and entire libraries of self-help books had been in existence in the days of Christ and the Apostles?

Anybody have a praise chorus thanking God for the blessings of an ideal upbringing and a fairly pleasant existence?


kq said...

Congrats Allen for an idyllic childhood and healthy adulthood. The sad thing is that most of the people around you didn't. Those folks have been pretty well marginalized by the church. Keep your sad background to yourself and your hurts covered and make nice with everybody else.
I go to a pretty happy church. We sing positive and uplifting songs, but we also sing and talk about the wounds people carry. That means we've attracted hundreds of people who didn't feel welcomed or wanted in traditional churches. I think the Father is happy and we are reaching the people Jesus came to reach.
I know that doesn't make for a funny blog. But, nevertheless, I find it a lot more real than anything I've ever experienced in 40 years of church-going.

Allen said...

Thanks for your comments, kq. Upon reflection, the post came across as a bit more mean-spirited than I intended. I'm glad that you're in a place where you're ministering and being ministered to! I, too, loathe artificiality, in the church and anywhere else. I'll try to be more aware of marginalizing attitudes in my own heart and actions--and in this blog--from now on.