Question for you:answer: HA! you give me far more credit than i deserve CS! i am the one blogging anonymously and avoiding nearly every hot-button topic on my blog (except my own story that really no one can argue with now...) i have found that i am drained by argument and bickering. i have come, in my 41 years, to realize that if my relationship with a person isn't deep enough to withstand disagreement i am not going to waste my time and energy trying to convince them that they are wrong and i am right (and i am finding also in my 41 years that i have been wrong about so very much in my life, especially my theology, that i will not die for anything except that all things can be made new and redemption is real - simplistic i know, but the rest is smoke and vapours to me).
You write in your sidebar that you felt trapped as an opinionated woman.
It may be more true for women, perhaps particularly opinionated church going women, but all of us avoid speaking our minds.
For example... I have a number of readers who I call pharisees in my heart. Folks who feel that they are always right, that they represent Christian truth. They seem to think that their beliefs are unquestionable and are the next best thing as the voice of God.
But, I say nothing. I tell myself it doesn't matter. That I needn't stir things up. That if they want to believe that God votes Republican and believes in the death penalty, fine. Who am I?
So... to the question...
What do you really want to say to the pharisees in your own church?
pharisees don't go to the church i go to now - where we used to be they filled the pews, but their rocks were too hard and their aim too good, so we hightailed it out of there and found a safe place where real people love jesus and each other. pharisees hate that and if they happen to stop by here they hightail it out of there as soon as they realize there is no power to be had.
i know that sounds so cynical and hopeless - but i truly believe that living my life pharisee-free is a good thing. the only time they really touch my life now is when i am reminded that god's grace extends to them too, and that they truly are my neighbor. they are the hardest for me to love. i actually have to pray that recovery prayer "god, help me to be willing to be willing" to love them, it is such hard work.
i wish i had a better answer for you, other than i put down my rocks and walked away. it's how i saw jesus disarm them in john 8, the same way he disarmed me. i long to knock each and every one of them off their pedestals and show them up for the hypocrites they are - but i realize that the energy that steals from me can be better spent building something instead of tearing something down. so i let them have their kingdoms, and i walk away.
i guess if i didn't have this nurturing community of broken people i have here it might be worth the energy to try to change something, but the times i have tried i realized that the relationships i was earnestly trying to restore were not equally invested in on the other end of the equation. and to me that is truly the measuring stick i use now. is this a 'drive by troll' slinging ick on my blog, who will never hear my story no matter how hard i try, or are they really a friend that i have offended or need to challenge to allow us both to grow in grace?
curious servant - you are such a conscientious soul, so kind and wonderful at creating community on your blog. i can imagine that trolls and pharisees would invade your thoughts and heart far longer than your face was turned to your computer screen, and linger in your memory well past any interaction at church lasts. you are the heart of the church, and far too often that heart breaks or is broken wide open by the casual, or sometimes even intentionally hurtful comments of others. i cringe to think of how many times i have wounded those merciful souls like you with my judgmental comments or cocksure remarks.
you see, deep in my heart lives a pharisee that i must kill every day. every single day.
the only thing that changed this heart, this pharisee heart of mine was falling flat on my face and being picked up by those with hearts like yours. love, not arguments softened my heart. peace, not war changed my theology. silence, not words gave me time to think. to those with love, peace and silence i owe my eternal gratitude. because my name is bobbie, and i am a recovery pharisee.