-Pastor Melissa Fain-
I think my biggest frustration today is our inability to see no one is looking. We have mastered the art of talking to ourselves, and believing we are somehow reaching out. We can get people who already think the same way as we do to smash that like button. We can gather thousands of like minded individuals into one space, and confuse that with success.
In reality, we are at the point where the illusion of change is just about the only thing actually happening anymore.
Just imagine this with me.
You and so many others are packed into a giant amphitheater. There are twenty stages circling the base, and all of them are speaking at the same time. There are also some around you vying for spots on those stages, so they are all speaking too. It’s loud! Too loud! You can hear everything, which means you can actually hear nothing. (This is the internet.)
Then a friend hands you noise cancelling headphones. “Hey, I’m listening to that stage right over there. If you put them on, you’ll hear what they are saying.”
So you put on the headphones, and the first thought you have is that you appreciate the relief from all the noise. You don’t even care what the person on stage is saying, because it’s just nice to have enough peace to be able to think again!
You also notice that with these headphones there are nearby voices that are allowed to break though. You think that’s great. The people on stage have too much power, and allowing some of the small voices equal attention is more than fair.
Then, you discover your headphones can pick the voices you want to hear! You start messing with your frequencies. You scroll through all the stages, and find 2-3 you really like. You also start adding people in the auditorium and begin listening to them. There’s a gal, on the other side of the amphitheater you accidentally found, but she is amazing, and you agree with everything she says!
All of this sounds wonderful, until you realize it didn’t help people hear. It cuts people off. Because the world was too loud to listen to all of it, it forced you to only listen to what you already agreed with. And if you kept diverse people around you, it didn't matter. You were going to unfriend/unfollow/ignore those who didn’t agree with you, or they were going to do it to you.
The Church is in control of nothing.
First and foremost, the Church’s powerlessness should always be true. We are not God, nor should we wield power in such a Godly way. The church should be on a mission to empower others, not oneself.That being said, we all know that hasn’t been the case. The Church has done some horrible things in the name of God. Much of it was done to maintain power.
It’s the echo chamber. We've put ourselves into it making it easy to delude oneself into believing everyone who is right and just thinks the exact same way as oneself. So while those broken by the Church are yelling out to the world to do something, no one hears them.
The Church doesn’t hear them because they unfollowed the broken.
Those outside the Church don't hear them, because they haven’t subscribed to the “right” channels.
Only the broken can truly hear the broken, and the growing number within this group has become alarming.
Here’s the blunt truth for all you broken people out there: The Church (the entire Church) believes they are not the problem. It’s the Church down the street that’s the problem. And the Church down the street? The exact same. So, even when they hear your stories they are self-congratulating themselves for not being the church that broke you. Their solution is for you to join their church. Their solution is to enter their echo chamber, which is no solution at all. They are not listening to you, they are concerned about themselves. What about the stories that belong to these churches? The backfire effect causes them to somehow believe it was a misunderstanding, a fluke… [insert something that keeps accountability at bay here.]
Here’s an even blunter truth: No one is listening to you, at least not in a real and substantive way. On one side, your truth dismantles their truth. Your truth destroys their faith. They’d rather let you fade into obscurity than evaluate their faith. On the other side they tuned you out before you even talked. They not only are without a church, they are actively avoiding the building, the people, and the words. They have no sympathy for you because they don’t see the point in fighting for an institution like that.
Why am I being this blunt?
This problem must be dealt with first, before we can fix the systemic issues within the Church. I am not trying to be mean. I am not just poo-pooing good and healthy change. I’m telling the world where to start. We must fix the tool used to fix the problem, before we have any hope of fixing the problem.