There will be a moment when you will hate your pastor’s smug little face and his grin and those quirky Christianese catchphrases out his grinning smiley mouth.
You will eventually resent your church.
You will hate the music, the seats, the bulletin font, the ushers, the way they force the offering plate in your lap, the self-promoting announcements, the tacky jumbo screen.
I mean just three months ago, you loved your pastor. You were excited at church. You loved the praise team. But that moment comes when everything is too loud and too shrill and suddenly grating and irritating — and we think our best option is to leave.
The moment you find out your church isn’t perfect can be very disorienting. Your pastor curses? He watches Breaking Bad? The praise team went out for a beer? There’s gossip in the church? How dare they.
We go from idealism to optimism to pessimism. It’s inevitable.
Sometimes we wait for the pastor to make some theological mistake so we can justify our anger. I’ve done it too. I fuel my resentment with every last straw. I build my precious hate-tent and mentally argue with the sermon and find all the ways I could make this church better.
I get tired of doing this. I think many of us who secretly hate our churches just forget that the honeymoon has to end, and that the church was messed up long before we got there.
If the church isn’t messy, then it’s not a church. That’s why God calls us to be in a body of other people: to endure with those we would never hang out with, to persevere with different preferences, to overcome our loss of patience and our growing frustrations and our silly hang-ups, to really love others when we least want to.
There’s no real love that doesn’t push past the initial illusions of perfection. The real kind of love that Jesus aims for is the kind that embraces the ugly underside of our faults and flaws, and looks not at who we should be, but could be.
I’m praying we are not so quick to force undue pressure on our pastors, churches, and fellow believers. I hope we don’t pick on our human nature as a reason to quit. Jesus didn’t do that to us, either.
Originally posted here on my Tumblr.