Home Pastors Pastor Blogs Not Discounting the Church: Or, Peterson Shakes up my Disenfranchisement

Not Discounting the Church: Or, Peterson Shakes up my Disenfranchisement

It’s no secret that I’ve often found myself very disenfranchised with the church.

The hypocrisy, the close-mindedness, the ways it uses money and time, the things it prioritizes and the things it doesn’t, the way its story so often doesn’t sound sound at all like Jesus’ story.

Many times I’ve felt like walking away entirely, not from my faith but from an institution that often feels like it has become a barrier to the very faith it is supposed to embody.

But, as Suzannah reminds us, the church is not only broken but also beautiful.

In reading Eugene Peterson’s memoir The Pastor (which I can’t recommend highly enough) I’ve been forced to own up to the ways I’ve wrongly discounted the church. Yes it has it’s flaws – not least because I’m involved in it – but there is more to the picture, there is grace and beauty as well.

Maybe the reason I’m sometimes so frustrated with the church is because I have such hopes for what it could be, but often doesn’t seem to be.

Yet when it fails as of course it will, that doesn’t mean we should give up hope.

The reason Peterson’s writing has been so challenging is because he clearly sees the brokeness, he critiques many of the same things that I’ve felt so disenfranchised by, and yet he can still write this about what church can be…

“a community where men and women who don’t fit were welcomed, where neglected children were noticed, where the stories of Jesus were told, and the people who had no stories found they did have stories, stories that were part of the Jesus story… a colony of heaven in the country of death, a strategy of the Holy Spirit for giving witness to the already-inaugurated kingdom of God” – The Pastor

Critique has a place, and we shouldn’t stop insisting that the church be more faithful to its calling.

But I pray that we can also learn to see the church like that.