Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday’s Trust - I Went to Church to Find God…but Found He Was Not There…

Tuesday’s Trust

I Went to Church to Find God…

but Found He Was Not There…

Whatever a poem is up to, it requires our trust along with our consent to let it try to change our way of thinking and feeling. Nothing without this risk. I expect hang gliding must be like poetry. Once you get used to it, you can't imagine not wanting the scare of it. But it's more serious than hang gliding. Poetry is the safest known mode of human risk. You risk only staying alive.

~William Meredith, from Poems Are Hard to Read

I Went to Church to Find God…

but Found He Was Not There…

Let me preface my poem by saying I grew up in the church, and it was a wonderful experience. The leaders, including many godly teachers who volunteered so much of their time, literally poured their lives into me and so many others. So I know what church should be. These precious souls taught me church is not any particular building; church is anywhere God's people are. They encouraged everyone to develop their spiritual gifts and to use them in the church (and outside the church for that matter) for God's glory.

If spiritual abuse of any kind happened, it was effectively dealt with so that parishioners would not be harmed further. We were taught to speak the truth in love, but indeed speak the truth. We were taught to go to a brother or sister, speaking the truth in love when you saw them hurting anyone (including themselves). Church was a wondrous experience, and I cherish the relationships, lessons learned about my Lord, and the sweet worship time spent as a church family together.

But alas, as I have become an adult and been an active member at several different churches, I have been grieved as I have witnessed spiritual abuse of varying degrees. When I would go to speak the truth in love, at times I was received respectfully and appropriate repairs were made...

But if the receiver was a wolf in sheep's clothing, it would very soon become apparent, and soon thereafter it was like I was being eaten alive.

For what? For Speaking.the.Truth.In.Love.

And it seems these corrupt leaders ~these wolves in sheep's clothing~ effectively surrounded themselves with incompetent "leaders" so that they were free to run amuck among God's precious lambs. And run amuck they did.

I have seen way too much corruption. And I have seen way too many precious lambs whose lives were devastated by the evil that was perpetrated on them...

I saw too many wolves until it became overwhelming to my tender soul.

I still have precious friends within each church of which I have been a part. And there are still portions of the church that I have seen effectively discipling one another in a way that honors God and builds His people.
But my spirit is so grieved at what I see as the steady demise of the church as an institution...

It seems corruption too often abounds. Women are preyed upon. Leaders destroy one another with power hunger. Women are put down and not allowed to use their gifts. God-filled ministers are run off. God-filled ministers-of-music are run off. The corrupt "ministers" are left to reign.

Elders -- complicit with the corrupted, abusive leaders -- use people's tithe offerings to pay hush money for these "leaders" -- these wolves in sheep's clothing -- who have sexually offended, spiritually abused, with no appropriate repercussions doled out to the leaders who preyed upon their sheep. And the rest of the sheep are left totally unaware of the misuse of the moneys they have given ~ to what they had thought would be used on behalf of the Lord's work in His world...

My heart is so grieved at the state of the church today as it does not reflect my loving Lord who has the greatest respect and love for every precious person; indeed He sacrificed His own Son for each one of us. How can we not love as He loved within His own home where He is to be honored? What God has commanded to be consecrated, we have desecrated...

Thus, I come to my poem in which I try to express at least a degree of my heartbroken angst...

I went to church for prayer, only to find a prey-er.

I went to family night supper to eat, only to find out they eat their young.

I went to church to worship, only to find they themselves wanted to be worshipped.

I went to church to find God, only to find their many gods screaming out for my worship which I could not give, for I knew they were not God, for which the parishioners threw me out (in essence), for I would not worship their god.

I went to church to find God but only found a man-who-would-be-king upon his holey throne, wrapped in his kingly robe, chanting in his sing-song voice that sought to lull me into his hypnotic trance, wanting me to forget God and worship him, or he would worship me if only I would let him make me his idol, become his sexualized object.

I went to church to sing, only to see the minister of music drool over one of his objects of lust, and realized what was worshipped there had nothing to do with God, but all to do with his “being” a god, lording over the victimized who wanted God but settled for the-man-who-would-be-god pawing over her soul, drawing her into his lair…because he said he was about seeking GOD.

I went to church to teach about God, but found the parishioners only wanted me to speak the tribal language that would let them have the gods of their own making, not the God who would destroy the gods, as He demanded we have no other gods before Him. So they drowned me out with their tribal language, and no one asked them to stop.

I went to church to find God, but sadly found Satan there.

But when I tried to cry out, “Satan is in this place; where is God?” they threw me out (in essence), calling me Satan.

I went to church to find Jesus, but found only politics there. And I remembered church politics killed Jesus.

I went to church to find the Suffering Servant; He found me and called me to suffer for Him, not for these people who pretended to be about Him,

and so He asked me to come out from them and be separate, for they were of the world, not of His Kingdom...

I went to church to find God…but found He was not there…

My Savior found me looking…and drew me from that lair.

May God heal His precious abused lambs and cleanse the churches of

“her officials within her (who) are like wolves tearing their prey.”

~Ezekiel 22:27


Again the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has had no rain or showers in the day of wrath.’ There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey: they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. Her priests do violence to My law and profane My holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’—when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.

"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out My wrath on them and consume them with My fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Ezekiel 22:23-31 NIV

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. ~Jesus speaking

Matthew 7:15 NIV

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. But be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. ~Jesus speaking

Matthew 10:16-17 NIV

A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household. So do not be afraid of them. ~Jesus speaking

Matthew 10:24-26a NIV

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. ~Jesus speaking

Matthew 23:27-28 NIV

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord.
2 Corinthians 6:16-17 NIV

from Poems Are Hard to Read, by William Meredith, excerpted at poets.org.

Scripture - New International Version (NIV)

Poem – I Went to Church to Find God...but Found He Was Not There... – Angie Bennett Prince – 11/3/09


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