Dear Evangelical Church,
I wanted to write to you because of my mixed feelings about you. I must admit that I find myself so often really, really not liking you. And though you claim to be the source of joy by virtue of a membership in the Body of Christ, I find that euphoria I once had at the knowledge of truth jaded by your failures and lackings.
Church, I hate how you value truth over all else. I hate how even though the heavens declare the glory of God, you still treat science as an invalid tool for studying God’s ordered world. I hate how you have marginalized the gift of human reason by banishing those with doubt as people of weak faith, forgetting how perfect love casts out fear. I despise how you have politicized theology by linking politics with a national notion of Christianity.
I hate how you marginalize those who most need the gospel. And though Christ has said that the church is for the sick, you have made the church into the place of the seemingly perfect. I hate how by insisting on the purity of women and separation of men, you make women into objects of temptation and fail to recognize them as beloved bearers of the image of God. And though Christ said that he is a place of rest, you are content in your wealth and self sufficiency. And though your greatest evangelist tells of how love abounds where even faith and hope do cease, you show condemnation instead of charity, hatred and not grace, and the appearance of truth and not truth itself.
I hate how you fail to love yourself. Where Christ prayed for us to be one, you have endlessly and unceasingly divided, diluting your own witness. And above all I hate how you often do not even preach the Gospel of Christ. Where so many do not have the gospel, you insist on conformation to righteousness and not inward transformation. Where the gospel has not been preached you do not go. And where you once held truth, you have given it up for a lie. I hate how you have at night been the cause of so many of my doubts about your own veracity and the veracity of the message you are called to proclaim. For these and so many more I do dislike you.
But church, though I hate all these things about you, I do so dearly love you. For in you I have found the message of Christ, and him crucified. In you I have found beacons of hope who have showed me what it truly means to be a follower of Christ, and in you I find a perfect mirror for my own failings, for so many of the failings I myself hate you for. What good is it to have the truth, if the truth is not heard? And what good is hearing if what which is heard is not done? Help me, so that I may help you. Let us together become more like him who is our head and once again show the world what it truly means to be the ambassadors of Christ, bearing his name at home to ourselves and to our neighbours, to those near and far.