Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church faith//hope//love

  • Another stream of consciousness over why the church frustrates me

    You know, sometimes I wonder. We do all this stuff to try and convey the openness and grace of Jesus, we're even told by evangelists to be friendly and loving. Yet when you actually get into a church, the reality is very different. Sometimes I really don't get the church institution, with all of it's smiles and repressed anger. A friend of mine has just stopped going to his church because the sermon was saying it was wrong to be homosexual and if you disagree then you are saying the whole of the Bible is wrong. He's not gay, just uncomfortable when the preacher starts condemning swathes of people. Quite why a preacher would have an urge to do a lecture on this subject is beyond me when there's a few other messages that God's people need to hear. How about; 'love one another', or, 'help the poor and oppressed', for instance. 'Condemn homosexuals' doesn't seem to me to be a priority command of Jesus.

    Whatever your view on the matter, this was not really a very Baptist way of looking at things, "Disagree with me and you're not a Christian". I thought in our tradition we encouraged debate and dissent over scripture and theology, or are there some things that are beyond debate and the pulpit can dictate people's understanding.

    We behave like this, smile smile why don't you come to church, then, it's the serious face, these things are wrong and if you don't fully agree then you are not a proper Christian. And then we wonder why people have these attitudes about the church and don't really want to come.

    We've had this discussion with people in the Tree of Life activities, 'The church doesn't welcome people like me', is how it was seen. And there is no point disagreeing if the person comes along and then finds that actually they were right, that despite the smiles, the church will only welcome those who conform to its cultural and theological behaviour.

    I think it is different here in CWBC. We aren't perfect, but we aren't like a lot of other churches. We're a bit shabby, a bit confused over how we see God, we can't make everyone agree so have learnt to live with our differences (most of the time at least!). We're not very good at 'selling' the message, at least, in marketing ways. We believe in an honest faith, which allows for doubt and questions, a shambolic faith, that doesn't add up, but we're not going to ignore or deny the facts that are awkward, we hold these disagreements in tension.

    If you want to explore more about God and faith, if you are intrigued by Jesus and what he said and did, but you're not very good at being churchy, then you may have found that the church hasn't welcomed you.

    But we're not like that.

    A good place to look, if you want to know where we stand, is here especially the Do come if/Don't come if bits.

    Blessings to you! And try not to let the church get you down.




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Welcome to the blog

Neil (the minister) occasionally gets round to blogging so welcome to the trivia and ramblings of an erratic stream of consciousness.

Because we try to be properly Baptist, these views aren't necessarily the views of everyone who is part of the church family here.

We're not even sure they're Neil's.

Either way, we try not to fall out over it.

You can also follow Neil's personal and irrelevant twitter.

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