Really. Let’s be honest about this one.

one of the most popular words in the church world  these days is authenticity.

apparently,  people are looking for churches where people are real.   a place where people are honest with their feelings and transparent about their strengths and weaknesses…where attitudes and responses are genuine.   i’m lead to believe that folks are tired of fake and really want to get down to the business of frank and candid openness.

like i said…evidently,  today’s shrewd church people are infatuated with authenticity.   from their church leaders.   from their church friends.   from their “worship” experience.   from their sermonizers.

yup.   that’s what i’m saying.   but here’s what i’m thinking:

i’m not convinced that people want real and authentic and honesty and genuineness.   not from their leaders.   not from each other.   it’s too messy.

i think people honestly prefer their church experience  to be sanitized.   we are uncomfortable with leaders who have  dirty laundry.   we definitely don’t want them to hang it up on the line for others to see.   we prefer tidy relationships that place a limited amount of demands on our time and wallets.

we value self-sufficiency.   dependency is seen as weakness,  at best.   more often it is seen as failure.   deep down,  we struggle with hearing about the emptiness and darkness and collapses and fiascos of our friends.   this kind of information requires response.

and do we really want people to speak their minds?   do we really want to give people room to vent and judge and criticize and worry and condemn?   not so much…

you know where people are most authentic?   you know where people are the most honest…the most transparent…the most real?   at home.   with their families.   home is where you find out what people are really made of…what’s really in their hearts…where personal priorities really stand.

so…what if you treated your church family the way you treat the family you live with everyday?   what if your attitude and responses to your church family were the same as you gave to your spouse or your children?   what if your conversation with your church family was the same flavor as the conversation you have with your blood family in the car on the way to and from the church building?   what if you were that genuine…that honest?

what i’m saying is i think we are more real with people we live withthan we ever are with the people we share life with at church…and i’m not sure we really value authenticity and honesty and real  as much as we want people to think that we do.

what do you think?   i’m not being cold and cynical here.   nor am i being overly critical of church or family life.   i’m just saying that i think saying authenticity and real  are a whole lot different than actually living that way.

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10 thoughts on “Really. Let’s be honest about this one.

  1. A number of thoughts here – If you live with someone there is a degree of intimacy built that includes acceptance for people’s raw side. Thankfully we are not one-dimentional, but would you really want people to behave as they would at home? The dynamics of that are mind boggling. I think we appreciate the positive side of ourselves around our church family. That’s not fake, though it is filtered.
    I kind of have a view that the difference in what we have at NP versus many churches is a little like the difference between a hands-on children’s science center and a professional art museum. One is experiential and designed for learning and positive interaction and the other is a more sterile and one-sided experience.
    I have a wonderful family that I live with. My home is a respite from the troubles of the day/world. I don’t want to live in a commune but I do enjoy community.
    Am I that far off base?

  2. Really? You want me to treat church family like Avery,Jack and Rotel?

    We play jokes on each other.

    Make fun of our mistakes.

    Give each other hugs when we see each other.

    Cry at movies.

    Get super stoked when we play games with each other. regardless if we like the game or not.

    Knowing each other well by remembering the smallest of details. Favorite line in a song, favorite hair style of a zu zu pet, favorite ruler color. You get the picture.
    You can’t all of a sudden be candid with your church family if all you know of them is for the hour on Sunday. (on a side note, I bet we really only engage in conversation with church peps for less than 10 minutes a week. Do you really think any meaningful conversation happens during the actual service. Unless you are lucky enough to be on the International Texting League.)

    I was going to scoreboard and say I do treat my church family the same as my family. Unfortunately, I still have far to go.

  3. First of all, love this. I think it’s pretty authentic. 😉 I have so many thoughts, but for the sake of brevity I will say I agree with what you’re saying – that people say they want it but in reality can’t actually handle the responsibility and reality it brings with it. It’s like getting baptized, saying you want Jesus to rock your world and change your life, and then going back to what you did before. You want everything He has to offer, but you have to give yourself over 100% to Him and most people aren’t willing to take the risk.

    Rest assured though, there are some churches out there who talk about genuine and authentic and are actually living it out. If you ever need a little refreshment in this area podcast you some Antioch Community Church Norman. With an Acts 2 community focus, everyone is all about giving and receiving and being open and authentic in our walks together. My favorite part is that our Pastor shares his failures and his stories of addiction and accountability on a weekly basis. And personally, I think it’s legit to see that our leaders are imperfect along with us, and to be reminded that Jesus is the only perfect One and we are all struggling together, not alone. I never thought to ask for authenticity but God brought it, and I love it.

    Was that brief? 😀 I miss you friend!

  4. I hear your thoughts and raise you a couple more.

    Our society places so much value on independence that we grow up with very little need for a relationship other than what is in our little sphere. If you are not in that sphere or, as an outsider, a benefit to that sphere…I dont see “real” being a welcomed aspect. I dont see “Community” in the church. Real is so convoluted sometimes…real means vulnerable and such weakness is scoffed at in our society. We’ve lost “Community” in a lot of our churches. Maybe I see it more as a single mother, 3,000 miles from where I grew up, (small towns are all about “what H.S. did you go to?” it’s how they identify what part of town you may have lived, who’s your family?, or who you may know), and when you cant identify…well- who am I?

    I was listening to the radio the other day, a Christian station, and they were talking about singles who wanted to be married… (ya, still me). So it stated that years, (and I mean it must have been years ago), ago- young women in the community were protected by the elder women who helped them to marry. Found prospective young men for these young women. Futherly stating that that is not done anymore, women (and men) are pretty much out there on there own. Our Elders seem to have retired.
    Where’s the Community?

    Some days I wished I were Amish… I could make cool things with tools, but most importantly- the community.

    The example above just shows the self of our Society, and some churches.

    Why is church a “Sunday” thing?
    Recently I started back up Saturday nite church at a local non-denom. church …some lady asked, “How is that? Gee there must not be hardly anyone there? We go to the 9:45am). I thought- so what!… and I think I mentioned the thought in a tone, “there’s 20 of us or more”… Lord have mercy if the message touches 2 of us…1 of us… it only takes two to be called a gathering.

    …and the pretense of Sunday is lifted… my son and I walk to the church…and walk home thru the park, or get something to eat. Can you imagine if Church wasnt an appointment to be had on Sunday?? Such a commotion such a business meeting NO!!…but, something like a ‘date’ with your family…not just blood, but your church family… on Sat. nite? It’s the best feeling…

    Where’s the Beef?

    1. nice to hear from you, jeanne! i definitely hear what you’re saying. sounds like you’ve found a good place to be. i could totally see you in an amish dress, tho…

    2. “and the pretense of Sunday is lifted… my son and I walk to the church…and walk home thru the park, or get something to eat. Can you imagine if Church wasnt an appointment to be had on Sunday?? Such a commotion such a business meeting NO!!…but, something like a ‘date’ with your family…not just blood, but your church family… on Sat. nite? It’s the best feeling…”
      Awesome Jeanne…

      1. I love you Beckie…!! Consider yourself totally hugged. 🙂 ❤

        Mike… I cant pull off Amish-fashion…. under all this Maryland, I'm still a Californian.

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