Like I said recently here and on NLQ I don't think complaining is necessarily always bad, it's the first step toward really getting things done. Sometimes it's the complainers that are the catalyst to getting stuff done, taking names, calling out injustice, fixing social wrongs.
The reason pastors don't like it is because it means those in their congregations aren't under their control or are (in the pastors mind) agitating and causing trouble.
I came away again today with a distinct unpleasant taste in my mouth, listening to what I know in my soul is complete and utter bullshit used to control people. Not one person asked me where I'd been or how I was and the few I spoke with cannot be considered friends in any way, shape or form. The usual people were there behaving as always in their little cliques.
Once I got home I decided I might start visiting other churches in the area, starting with the one my friend Joanie goes to. But when I pulled up their website I saw that the guy that was the burr under my saddle blanket during my old church days had preached a few sermons there. I pulled up his sermon notes and proceeded to laugh and be triggered anew. Yes, Tom Smith, the Tom Smith that created endless drama in my life for the years I attended the old church and has tried to keep on punishing me when I left is trying to tell people about love, God's love. Tom Smith gave a sermon.
His sermon was on how Jesus loves him, and he started his sermon with his simplistic little ditty he wrote that has a chorus like this:
"I like JesusThen he says this:
Jesus likes me"
" Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength will produce automatic obedience. Love eliminates the striving to obey."Again, simplistic, but this time quite wrong. Did King David, a man who did love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength, perfectly obey 100% of the time? Well, no, there was at the very least that thing with banging Bathsheba and killing her old man along with other stuff he did throughout his history.
Loving God isn't going to turn you into a Ned Flanders-bot, no matter how much you wish it would.
But to me the sermon capper was this bit, his description of himself before he starts claiming that at 38 years old he started living in love with the Lord and obeying God most of the time along with serving others:
" brat, smoking, getting high, drinking by age 13. No friends. Rejection on bus.Saved on school bus. Went strong months and months until we moved again.Became a chronic backslider for the next 25 years."This is the most absurdest part considering he and I are the same age and I know for a fact he was having an affair with someone else around the same age as 38 or shortly thereafter. I also want to know how he squares his simplistic views of obedience and serving others in that time with the time he grabbed me and shook me so hard I had bruises for a week, the time he chased me and my children across his front yard with an upraised fist to try and hit me, or all the piles of emails he sent me demanding I repent and apologize to him for leaving our old church, calling me names, threatening me with hell and burning coals being dumped on my head, ad infiniteum.
I know he hasn't changed much since then. This is a small Southern town where everyone knows everyone elses business.
He is still a backslider, he's just managed to find a place where many fewer people know that he's behaved in some atrocious behavior for anyone, much less someone claiming to follow Christ.
I know, I know, no one is perfect and we're all human, but my experiences with Tom Smith, and now the people at my big mainstream church leave me thinking that many, if not all, Christians are a load of controlling, shit-spewing, hypocrites living in a hermetically-sealed church bubble with no idea how ridiculous they are to the rest of the world.
I think I'm going to have to be 'done' with church, not with faith or my spirituality, but with organized religion for a while. I'm tired of being surprise-triggered by this stuff. It is starting to drag me down. When church starts to derail you from your spiritual life it might be time to ditch going to church at all.