The Agony and Ecstasy of Church – A ‘Must-Read’
As you can imagine, I receive many, many emails from listeners. Every now and then, one leaps out.
This one from Therese in Scotland will make you want to cry and to rejoice. I’ve resisted the temptation to comment further. Just read the email exchange and be blessed. 🙂
(Shared with Therese’s permission)
Email from Therese – 8th January 2013
Hi. First of all I am not a Christian. I am interested in Christianity but have been somewhat put off.
I am a 48 yr old single disabled woman and after discovering your programme on UCB I decided to go to a local church. I went along four Sunday evenings in a row recently, but did not feel at all welcome.
I mentioned this to the pastor on the 4th week to which he replied “Well you see you can’t really be accepted here as we are a middle class church”.
I live in a nice council flat but am apparently not the right class of person they are looking for in church. I was soooo hurt as I didn’t know you there were different churches for different classes. I presumed a church would welcome anybody but obviously I was wrong so although I listen to UCB from time to time I have really been put off Christianity if that is how Christian’s behave.
I have a better chance of being accepted in pubs than in a church, which is a bit ironic don’t you think?
By the way, I did not go back to church!
My Reply a Few Days Later
I’ve read your email and am totally blown away – although sadly, not surprised!!!
I totally appreciate that you are not a Christian at this point in your life – but can I tell you, I wouldn’t want to be standing next to that guy on that day that he stands before Jesus in judgement. Unbelievable!!!! In fact, I am totally outraged.
Can I tell you the most amazing thing about Jesus? Here He was – the Son of God – and did He hang around with the hoy-faloy, the toffs, the chaps the chaps trust, the religious establishment, the wealthy, the “beautiful set”??
No! Totally to the contrary. He hung around with the poor, the marginalised, the “sinners” the prostitutes, the flotsam and jetsam of society, the people on the fringes. Bog ordinary folk like you and me. That a church should be “unfriendly” is bad enough. But that a pastor should say that to you – I’m speechless!
Too right you shouldn’t go back there! I feel obliged to apologise on their behalf to you, but not to make any excuses.
Of course, churches aren’t full of perfect specimens like a zoo. They’re more of a rehabilitation ward 🙂 – full of imperfect people like you and me. But there’s no excuse for that.
Can I encourage you not to judge Jesus by the failings of these people. The love of God through Jesus is remarkable, unconditional, and faithful. All the things obviously that you didn’t find at this church.
If you let me know what town/suburb you live in, depending on where you are, I might be able to check with some contacts who could point you to quite a different sort of a church.
Thank you for sharing that with me – it makes my heart ache for you. I look forward to hearing back from you (you now have my direct email address :-)).
In the meantime, you are very much in my prayers,
There were a few more emails exchanged. Therese had some questions and Paula, one of the team at the UCB Radio Network in Stoke-on-Trent was investigating some local churches that Therese could attend in her Scottish Village. Then this ….
Email from Therese – 2 February 2013
Hi again Berni.
I emailed you this morning about my question over Lot’s wife. Paula one of your colleagues emailed me saying that we will never have all the answers. She is right.
I just wanted you to know that 15 minutes ago I got on my knees (which wasn’t easy with my sore leg!) and I repented of my sins then asked Jesus to take over my life from now on. I am not sure whether that makes me a Christian or not tho??
Thanks for your wonderful programme on UCB it really helped give me a shove in the right direction,
Following this I shared with her that by grace, God had accepted her, and she attended a church not far from her place that Paula had investigated.
Email from Therese – 11 February 2013
Yeah by all means share my story.
Well, what can I say? I went to the new church last night and was completely blown away! The place was positively rocking and you couldn’t speak over the music it was soooo loud, lights flashing, dancing, clapping with a whole worship group, it was amazing. Though I must say I had to take two headache pills on arriving home cos loud music gave me a pounding headache LOL.
I used to do a fair bit of voluntary work with young people with learning difficulties – during those years I worked full time in banking but preferred the voluntary work so I was delighted to see and meet so many young people at church along with 8 people I helped care for when I did the voluntary work.
God has brought them back into my life and tho I only spoke to 4 of them last night they all remembered my name so hopefully I can get involved in that again. I really have given everything to The Lord now and really hopes He uses me in a mighty way.
And yes I want to throw myself in to this church. Going to a bible study on Wednesday and a house group on Friday.