“I don’t know how people go through any crisis without the support of a community. I honestly can’t imagine life without family, church, small group, and community support. What do people do?”
Covid sent people scurrying for cover. Most of the churches have yet to recover the presence of some people—including some long-term, previously faithful families. But people rejected church long before Covid. The most common reason over the years has been the failures of church people.
“I was snubbed at church, the ballgame, the grocery store, the class party, etc.” “No one visited me (my family member) in the hospital.” “Deacon Jones told me I should dress (shave, hair length) more appropriately.” “I saw where the preacher’s family lives and no one needs that nice a house.” “I saw key church families at the park having a picnic with non-Christian people.” “I know several church families who drink alcohol.” You can add to the list, I’m sure.
Those failures are real…but they are only so because of our expectations. Even my father, who didn’t go to church, made assumptions about how Christians are to behave. When they didn’t do so, he had another excuse for not going to church.
Unfortunately, the key assumption remains unexamined by most people; the assumption that all church people are perfect…they do everything correctly. They aren’t…and they don’t. It is patently unfair to expect perfect behavior (however that is defined) from imperfect people. We are all broken…and we behave as broken people. No one should expect any more than that.
The second unexamined assumption is that church people remain unaffected by normal life. They are always on point and never distracted by their own life issues. If I’ve learned anything from my time at the Siteman Center for Advanced Medicine, it’s that quite ordinary-looking people often deal with extraordinary circumstances. It might be incumbent on us to give others a break when they don’t live up to our expectations.
Someone coined an adage, “Cut off your nose to spite your face.” Our overreaction to certain circumstances only ends up doing harm to ourselves. That’s what happens when we abandon the church community because we feel overlooked, offended, or otherwise aggravated. We end up removing ourselves from the very community that is there to support us in our time of need.
I don’t know how anyone goes through a crisis without the support of a community. Maybe it’s time you reestablished yourself within the community of faith. Or, you made sure you were being the community of faith to someone else.