Thursday, January 08, 2009

Abused Child?

Today at a new text study someone suggested an image for many congregations that I had not heard before: an abused child. In my frustration I have often seen people sitting in the pews not really engaging in any meaningful way and I have seen it as a country club mentality. It's sort of that notion that if you show up, punch the holy time clock, pay your "dues" every now and again, then you will have your place in heaven. I suspect that is still the case in a lot of places.

However, I had not considered the abused child image before, and it kind of made sense. (I probably won't do his explanation justice, but here's how I understood it.) That many people feel abused, burned, or whatever similar term you want to use, by the church. Yet they feel they need to be there. However, their job is to show up, lay low, don't rock the boat, and make peace when necessary.

What, I think, you wind up with is similar behavior from members. However, it is for vastly different reasons. This probably means we would need to respond in very different ways as well. I, honestly, haven't had a whole lot of time to think about it, but on a gut level there is something about it that makes sense. What do you think? If it's a true, or helpful, image then what implication do you see it having upon our ministry?

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