I've told this story here before, but for those who were not around the first time, here it is again:
When I was in late elementary school, my grandmother took care of my sister and myself. This means, during the Summer we would go with her to do chores. On one of those days, we were driving home when her car began to smoke. Pulling over into a bus lot, the smoke began to flame. "Quick," she screamed, "run inside and tell them my car is on fire!"
My sister and I walked up to the building, and went in, to see a group of people laughing around a table. I basically said, "My grandma's car is on fire. Please come and help." I said this with little to no inflection.
They laughed at me."Listen, if you can't even tell us seriously, don't even try. Do you want us to call the cops?"
I went back out to my grandma, who was in full panic. "They don't believe me," I told her.
"Well, make them believe you!"
Going back, I stood at the door, and centered myself. Running in this time I emoted, "Help! Help! My grandma's car is on fire, and she needs help!"
Again they laughed. "Are you joking?"
"No. It's really on fire."
"I'll get up and look, but if there is no car, I'm calling the cops."
"Fine!" At this point, I just wanted someone to step outside to see the car that was beginning to flame.
The woman stood up and stepped outside. A second later, she came in, in a panic. "Her Grandma's car is on fire! Quick! Get the fire extinguisher!"
I later found out my uncle had push the cigarette lighter in, and forgot to pull it back out. (For you youngins' out there, the cigarette lighter used to be a standard feature in a car. It's basically where the car charger is now.) It turned out the vehicle was just a little singed. I learned a lesson that day about perception, and the power of language. How we say something is sometimes more important than what we say.
Anyway, I realized something about myself. I've been described, especially recently, as centered and calm. I'm not prone to losing control when trauma hits. This is really good when trauma hits me personally, because I am able to stay rational and calm. This is really not good when it comes to getting others on board with something vitally important. They want to hear fear. They want to hear worry. If others are already feeling those emotions, I can calm them down. If they are not, it is difficult for me to emote the danger ahead.
That's the problem I've been having. Churches are dying. Congregants are getting seriously damaged by these churches. We are becoming a poison when we should be a balm. Those who have personally felt that damage completely understand what I'm saying, but that's because they are personally feeling it. We need to reach those who are unknowingly inflicting that damage. That's where I've failed. The church is really on fire, and it's not the Holy Spirit kind. This kind burns and scars. I need to leave the room, center myself, and come back in:
THE CHURCH NEEDS REVITALIZATION!! THE CHURCH NEEDS HELP!! Please, just do some research. Please, just dig a little. If you have to tell me, you'll call me a loony if I'm wrong, fine! I just need to you leave these doors and see what I see. This doesn't exist because I want to explore the internet frontier. This exists because I felt that pain first hand, and since then I've been hearing of others who have felt the same pain. This is an epidemic! This is serious! Stop playing church, and start healing it. We are running out of time to sit in our ivory towers and laugh it up. (Most of us stopped laughing anyway.) Get up and move, before it's too late!