Saying We’re Sorry and Meaning It…

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Boomers, Faith, Friends and Family, Gen Y, Raw Faith, Spiritual Abuse, Teaching or Mentoring

9/21/2010  3:33 am

Recently esquire magazine published a piece by Shane Claiborne that I can’t get out of my mind. He managed to put into words a lot of stuff that I’ve been thinking about lately. I loved Esquire’s intro to the piece:

What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

“This radical Christian’s ministry for the poor, The Simple Way, has gotten him in some trouble with his fellow Evangelicals. We asked him to address those who don’t believe.”

He started this way…

To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives. I am sorry that so often we have forgotten the Christ of our Christianity.

Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of God”

The whole article is well worth the read. I’ll include the link at the bottom of my post. I think what he said struck such a nerve with me because lately I’ve been finding myself apologizing to several groups of people for similar reasons. I’ve been apologizing to my younger friends and students on behalf of my generation. While we’ve been on a quest to “find ourselves” and find the satisfaction with life  we “deserve,” we’ve left them to fend for themselves and have failed to care for and nurture them. I’ve watched so many of my students basically lose their parents to divorce and midlife crisis. 

I’ve found myself apologizing to my younger friends who are believers because while the Bible talks about the older people encouraging and teaching the younger ones, so many of my generation in the church have basically said, “why in the world would I want to do that… I’ve already raised my kids.”  In the process we miss out on some amazing friendships. I learn so much on a regular basis from my friends who are younger. They constantly remind me about what is important. I love their generation’s unwillingness to pretend that everything is wonderful in their lives when it’s not. I love the intolerance for religious b.s., and their desire for their faith to make a difference in their lives and in the world around them.

And, like Shane, I find myself apologizing to my friends who aren’t believers, or who have been so wounded by the modern American “church” that it is a place of pain for them. I remember vividly reading the Bible for the first time. It was all new and fresh to me. The Jesus I found in the New Testament was so appealing to me. I loved the way he interacted with people and cared for them. It really was the good news to me. My heart was captivated by Him. We carry the good news inside us of a God of mercy who came to love, to heal and to redeem us.  God forgive us for presenting Him as mean-spirited and made in our own image. May people catch a glimpse of who He is through their encounters with us.

You can read Shanes piece at:

  1. I would like to say too, that I’m encouraged by my friends who are also wrestling with similar issues and who are willing to move out of their comfort zones to develop real meaningful relationships with people outside of our little subculture. We all have so much to learn from each other. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey together.

  2. Maery says:

    Thanks again for drawing attention to Shane’s piece and for speaking out yourself. I’ve found a church near my home that incorporates the social action piece into their faith. One member started a shelter and support service for the homeless in our area. About 5 churches take turns serving as a place for families to eat, sleep, get their kids to school, help them look for work and a place to live, etc. They also have a PFLAG group and are open and affirming. And are active in the community and world in other ways as well. It fits with what I think Jesus was all about.

  3. Alise says:

    Beautiful post, Linda. The power of repentance is so strong. Overall, there seems to be a lack of humility in the Church at large and I think that, more than anything else, is what is hurting her growth. I think we’re afraid that if we admit that we’re wrong, we might be wrong about EVERYTHING. So we’ll cling to our ideas and let people fall to the wayside.

  4. Alise, I agree. I think it works a lot better when we can come together in our common need for mercy and grace, and offer that to each other and a world who really needs some good news these days. I’m seeing more and more people who are hungry for that when it comes to their connection with local church bodies.

  5. I had read this article and was delighted to see it in mainstream mag. We will either get this Jesus really did mean it concept or loos the next generation of church goers. I try to let my actions be the apology, esp when it omes to the GLBT community. We have been less than kind there.

    • make that, which WILL work! and thank you Linda for the read and comment.

    • Kathy I agree. It makes me sad to see how the church many times treats the GLBT community in the name of “ministry.” For so many there Christianity is the source of great pain. I just don’t see Jesus modeling that kind of ministry for us. One of the things that I loved when I read the bible before becoming a believer was how Jesus went out of his way to reach out to people who have been marganilized and ostrisized by the community. That gave me great hope that he might have a place for me too as a broken kid.

      • One of the things I had to do is start listening more….and be more purposeful with what I said. I was way too defensive to those mentioned in the article. I needed let God work in their walk, and for me, be a living testimony.
        Nice Post!

        • Joey there is such wisdom in that. So many times stopping and really listening to what the person was saying, and trying to understand what they had lived through as a human being has helped me to not just give someone a knee jerk reaction that would have caused them to be wounded by me and closed off future communication. I’m learning that especially when it comes to someone’s blog posts or facebook posts, to take a while before responding and not just fire off some response right away. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  6. apesydaisy says:

    This is a great piece, as is the article you referenced. it seems that the more non-Christian people I meet, the more I hear the same types of things. It’s sad to think that we have been the reason they don’t know Christ. Thank you for sharing.

    • I’ve found too that my non-believing friends are so open to loving and caring for me, and having amazing discussions even about God, as long as they know that I love and respect them. I think we earn the right to be listened to and trusted by others a little at a time. They don’t expect me to compromise my faith to be their friends. They expect me to live my faith… which also means admitting my brokenness and letting them see who I really am. They keep me honest, and remind me of what really is important. I’m so thankful for them and also for my younger friends. None of us can fix the big church machine, but we can all make a difference with the people in our lives and let them make a difference in us. That’s one of the things I love about blogging too, is the chance to connect with others that are wrestling with the same issues. Thanks for stopping by here and hanging out for awhile.

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