Today was a gift :) Wish I could upload pics but I can't at the moment. Long naps, happy kids, reading on the deck, and church.
We left our last church for a number of reasons. We feel like we are settling in to the new church ok. We are looking for authenticity, open hearts, a place to learn.
To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going back to church tonight. I was privy to some information about one of the leaders. I had been feeling let down and sad about it, but decided to withhold (most) judgement until today. I would go to church and see how they handled it. If they swept it under the rug, I knew this was not church for my family and me. If they minimally addressed it, I would still be torn, could go either way. If they addressed it head on, preferably with the person involved speaking to the congregation and he took full responsibility, and was transparent... I'm in. I want REAL people, real problems, real truths, real darkness that is hard to bring to the table, yet once in the light, can start the healing process.
Tonight, I saw the man from the church, whom I look up to, whose words are breath for me. I saw him kneeling, then crouching, not sitting.
This was a pained man, a man in turmoil. We sang, we had announcements and then HE came up, flanked by a man he introduced as being on the church board. The church board man began to speak, in generalizations, but clearly they would be addressing some serious matters. He wanted us to know they are in constant prayer about what is best for the man, and for the church body. Then the pained men stepped forward again. He put it all out there. His mistakes, and how they multiplied, what he had done. He said he is beside himself with shame. He knows what he did, what he didn't, and what he could do now. He said he is taking full responsibility with open arms. He said he needed to be forthcoming with leadership, with us, with his family, no matter how humbling or humiliating it is. He said this thru tears, clearly struggling, crumbling before our eyes. The Church Board man stepped forward again and said they met immediately, and have been praying for him and the church. He elaborated a bit about the incident. He ended by telling us that our man would take a few weeks off to regroup, already and continued seeking counsel, and WOULD remain as lead pastor. The congregation erupted in applause, with tears coming from every blessed soul in the sanctuary. And then (lead by my not-so-churchy husband) a standing ovation.
I do not recall a time when I have been SO very moved. To witness such integrity. YES I long to be part of a church like this!!! Real, messy, filled with humans who struggle and make wordy decisions that have consequences. All in different stages of faith, all with a commonality of being a child of God. Beloved. Broken and beautiful. YES.
Side note: talking about a DUI.