Here's a challenging thought from from "Why I Went Back to Church" by Stephen Simpson in Relevant magazine's newsletter:
. . . . Once God revealed my hypocrisy, it made going to church easier. Church is a good place for people who are full of crap. Being a Christian means that you realize that you’re full of crap and that you need help. In fact, we should change the passing of the peace from “Peace be with you” to “You’re full of crap and so am I.”
Mike Yaconelli once said that church should be a place where we look at each other and say, “What are you doing here?” None of us is good enough to be there. Not one of us is righteous. Progressive types like me give more conservative Christians a hard time for being too “exclusive,” but we’re just as bad. We get just as easily annoyed and turn our backs on other children of God who don’t share our views. It’s so much easier to be snide than vulnerable. It’s much safer to be sarcastic than expose my heart to someone I don’t like. But once I stopped thinking of myself as too cool and took the time to get to know those I’d been judging, I made a shocking discovery. I like other Christians They might act nutty during worship, they’re beliefs might be too stinking rigid, and thy might even dress goofy, but I love those folks. They made me laugh, brought me joy and showed me love. That last one humbled me big time.
Yes, Christians are irritating. We can all be weird, ridiculous, stupid and mean. I’m a good example. That’s why we have to rely on God to clear our vision, change our hearts, and stop us from being ridiculous, stupid, and mean (I don’t think God cares so much about the weird part). If we let God fill us with His love rather than trusting our own assumptions, we will begin to love those who annoy us. We can go from being full of crap to full of grace and love. We get over ourselves and the little things that divide us, learning to see each other as God does. And God loves that person who irritates me just as much as He loves me. If I can remember that, maybe I won’t be so full of crap.
[Stephen W. Simpson lives with his wife and four kids in Pasadena, Calif. He attends church often.]