Too often in church, folks wear masks. They’re afraid that if they’re vulnerable about their struggles, they’ll be hurt emotionally.
In one church, a man was hurt physically. When the masks came off, the gloves came off, too.
Joe McKeever is a pastor in New Orleans who tells what happened. In a former church, he learned that some visitors saw a fist fight on the first day they attended his church. Despite this, they later joined the church. Pastor Joe was surprised, so he asked them what happened. The new member said that one man had been bullying the other, and it finally reached a boiling point. The new couple were sitting in the Sunday School assembly on their first day when they saw the situation explode. The bully walked by and made a snide remark about his victim, who could stand it no longer. He stood up and “knocked the daylights out of the bully.”
Despite seeing this violence on their first day at the church, the new couple continued to visit the church, and joined.
Pastor Joe asked, “Here’s my question. We pastors bend over backwards to impress visitors so they will come back. But on your first Sunday, you witnessed a fight— and not only did you return, you even joined the church. Explain that to me.”
The new member smiled and said, “Oh, we like an active church.”
When people visit a church, they know an active church from a fake church. I’m not saying that you should slug somebody next Sunday, but I am saying that we need to be honest and open with one another in church. Scripture reminds us to comfort each other in our troubles, so that “as you share in the sufferings, you will share in the comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:7, HCSB).
Now that’s the kind of active church that God likes to see.
Copyright 2008 by Bob Rogers. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday for a mix of religion and humor. You can read more “Holy Humor” on the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at www.fbcrincon.com.