Tuesday, March 13

i've been thinking about the church.
you know. Jesus and the church.
there are SO many people that just can't
find unconditional love and acceptance at
the very place where God's love should feel
the most real and accepting.

i know all about sunday mornings.
getting everyone into the car. maybe arguing
all the way there. but we pull up. have tried to
look our very best. and the children, too. and
we jump out of the car, everyone smiling. greeting
others as we walk in. but...

we sit side-by-side.
we may know those around us casually, but we don't usually
REALLY know their dark places and failures. and
they certainly don't know ours. we all sing glorious
hymns. the pastor's tie is tied just right.

he tells us beautiful stories about Jesus. His vast
love and deliverance. and then we go home. i haven't
told you what is REALLY going on in me nor have you
shared your private agonies and addictions and yearnings.

this bothers me. i mean it
REALLY upsets me. gays don't fit in.
those whose businesses are crashing don't
often feel the most acceptance inside church doors.
parents of rebellious children are usually criticized.
john's drinking problem is a BIG secret. and i always
wonder why those who are weak and broken and messed
up and sliding accross acceptable lines aren't the ones
inside church doors. where they should feel pure

i mean,
Jesus died for the broken. the shattered. the prostitutes
and gamblers. He died for SINNERS. but Christians
work very hard to look together and successful and happy
and perfect. i know. because i tried to for a very long
time. i was terrified that if you really knew me you would
reject me, and then where would i be?

when i went in to recovery for pain-pill addiction, i was
amazed. we would be escorted to AA meetings where
men and women would confess all their ugly failures...
and everyone listened. offered complete support. promised
confidentiality. and i did the same.

come, Jesus, come.
run, rivers, run.
rain pour down and wash us.
and may every single drop of CHrist's
Blood purge us of all our superficialities and
judgements. oh, precious Blood of Jesus, redeem
us so we can help you change the world. You and us
and love.making clean the dirt that contaminates our
thinking and hearts. flow, Blood, flow. amen. amen.


  1. So true, Ann. So true. After a few experiences of transparency resulting in criticism, judgment and gossip, people learn the hard way that church is NOT a safe place to share your failings and weaknesses...

  2. Check out what Ted and Gayle Haggard plus members have got going at St. James in CO. He is active on FB - a man who loves Jesus Christ and it shows - where two or more are gathered in His Name, beautiful things happens. Love to you, Ann - hope tomorrow brings you bright flowers, good food and friends. kjd

  3. A lot of people in the "church" haven't reached a breaking point, a dark night of the soul or experienced it. How would they understand unconditional love, acceptance, dark places, failure? A lot of times churches also honor marriages, families...it can be the lonliest place on earth sometimes.

  4. Last night I stood by the bedside of an elderly friend who is dying and she said, " I never thought it would be like this." And later when I asked her if she was afraid she said, "Yes, yes I am afraid." New territory for her...we don't get to write our ending. The church would have hushed her...reassuring her that all she has been taught is true..but they would have hushed.

    I wanted to crawl into her hospital bed and wrap my arms around her and just so she knew she was not alone...be there with her in her last days.

    I like you better now then who you were 30 yrs ago. Don't stop writing...it gives me courage to know there is someone who desires to see thru God's eyes humanity...frail and afraid humanity. Good Job Ann. Good Job. Patti


  5. Ann, I've been broken, too, and wouldn't go back to the put-together me--which was, after all, an illusion. Being broken, and continuing to live that way, has helped me to see the incredible loving sacrifice of Jesus in a whole new way. If we don't think sin's a big deal, then grace isn't either. Thank God for His tender mercies and His unfailing love to us! Keep on showing us the real Ann because you're ministering to us. Much love from Indiana!

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart. It means alot to me!

  7. Four days after my father's stroke, I fell apart and went to my church hoping to talk with one of the pastors. I was exhausted from spending hours at dad's bedside. As an only child and mother of a daughter away at college, I had no one to provide emotional support. I had silently talked to God many times in those four days, praying that dad would be all right and asking for strength. Now I was in need of what the church called "pastoral care."

    The reception area was empty when I entered the building. A staff birthday was obviously being celebrated in a nearby room; I heard laughter and chatter. When the receptionist emerged, I explained that I was upset and needed to talk to a pastor. Without a word, she went back into the room. I tried to compose myself; I had been crying and looked a mess. The associate pastor came out and led me to a seat in the hallway. We were casually acquainted and he knew I was a member of the church. I poured out what had happened, acutely conscious that the hallway did not afford any privacy. I wondered why he didn't invite me into his office. The noise from the party room was disconcerting. After I finished talking, he offered to pray with me. That was it. I'm not discounting prayer by any means, but I expected compassion, sympathy, concern. A follow-up phone call to see how things were going. I felt worse after that incident than I had before.

  8. Well Ann, we know that the Lord has chosen the broken and despised people of this world to show how great He is--If I have a brother or sister acting like they got "all that", it's only a matter of time! The Lord is so good in showing us, in His time, how great His love is for those the world wants to toss away. Yes, He is a "Giant God"--your words I believe! I just pray you just keep on keeping in real! Love you always my sister! Tam