it was so fresh to have her vivacious personality and passion in our home. she is so dear to us, and is torn between her christian college education and what she feels in her bones to be true.
she spoke of her frustration at a choice the church is making. she was unable to put it into words, and when i pieced together her thoughts i realized she was feeling the same frustration we have felt along the way. i verbalized my own issues and the light turned on in her eyes and i saw that she had the moment of being understood and not feeling alone.
the church has two families that were displaced by katrina. one of the most positive aspects our old church is their generosity. the families started wish lists and the church met those lists in abundance. j talked about the little 'house' that is being built on the stage of the worship center for sunday - so that all of the donations can be placed around it. she couldn't put her finger on why this bothered her, she wasn't sure if it was the waste of money the useless structure was costing or what exactly it was, but she knew it made her feel unsettled.
i heard her speak of this and my stomach turned. i felt so ill, and spoke of how something so beautiful and generous was being turned into a 'photo op' for the senior pastor. how he was using all of this to make himself and his church 'feel generous'. i talked about the wounding this will bring to those two families who are forced up onto that stage like animals to receive their gifts - it makes me sick to even type this. those families have gone through so much horror, to force them into being trophies and to turn honest people's generosity into a show is so sickening. i want to stumble in there tomorrow morning 'mid show' like the prophet of old shaking my finger and railing against the abuse. it's just so very wrong.
another thought popped into my head while i was typing this. some of our friends are involved in the 'power point' aspect of 'the show' - i'd love them to make a slide of matthew 6 and put it up on the screen while he is making his big presentation...
The World Is Not a Stage
1"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding.
2"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure--"playactors' I call them--treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. 3When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. 4Just do it--quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
update: after posting this i still felt so unsettled. i emailed the head elder's wife voicing my concerns, stating that it's really none of my business, but by not saying anything that could stop it from happening i felt like an accomplice. i'm still shaking inside. i would have never done this if liam had still been on staff. i'll keep you posted.