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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hello Church, Where Are You?

crying girl

I’ve been holding off on publishing this blog. I wrote it shortly after my mother’s death and thought I was just angry about that and not so much the topic. So I put it off to the side and waited it out, praying to see if the Holy Spirit would guide me in another direction. Unfortunately, I need to speak the truth and reveal how far gone the church truly has become.

Last week I wrote about the Church vs. Government, and what the church’s role was, is, and should be. But today I want to discuss something even more disturbing.

During the last few weeks of my mother’s life, and then finally her death, no one from my church could be found, except a select few from our small group. However, no one called. No one came to our home to visit. No one brought us much needed meals.

My husband was raised Mormon. He has been utterly appalled at the lack of face time the church, or anyone from the church, has given us during this incredibly difficult time in our life. In the Mormon communities, it’s not uncommon practice, even in today’s modern world, to feed those in need, particularly those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

My mother had been sick for months. During her final days, I spent the majority of my time and energy at her home taking care of her. She has been dead now for over two weeks and still…not one single phone call from anyone from my church.

What’s truly sad about this situation is that a little over a year ago, I actually went into counseling at our church to help me deal with my mother’s battle with cancer. She had been put on the church’s weekly prayer list time after time. Yet…no one EVER called throughout the past year to check on me or my mother. When they saw me in the lobby after church…not a word!

And then when she died “the church” sent me a plant with a card that generically said, "From your friends and family at KFA." Incredibly impersonal and heartless. Not even, “So sorry for your loss”! Where's the love? Where's the support? Hello Church! Where are you?!

I mention my husband’s Mormon background because they got it right the first time and didn’t stop carrying on a beautiful tradition of bringing dinners in times of need.

Now maybe this sounds petty and selfish, but for anyone who has been a care taker for someone who was terminally ill, or watched a parent die, you know that it takes a toll on not only you, but your family, too! You don’t have time to grocery shop, cook, clean, or even take care of your family properly. One minute you’re spending nearly every waking hour taking care of them, and the next you’re driving all over town like a mad person making funeral, wake and luncheon arrangements. Even after all of that dies down, you find yourself still needing to dig through paperwork for estate purposes, and going through your loved ones personal items and cleaning out their home. It can take months, even a year, to get through it all. And again I say: Hello Church! Where are you?!

I didn’t need a plant. I can’t even take care of a plant at this point in my life because I can barely take care of myself and my family. I’m run down, exhausted! Before I know it, my three year old is dragging around asking me about dinner and I have nothing to make! So we spend the money we don’t have and order something to eat. What a waste of money when I think that the Mormon church would have had my refrigerator locked and loaded with casseroles, desserts, and other goodies to help us through this madness for the next month or so. Do you think they would have even offered to help us with Tavin or around the house? Yep. Because THAT’S what they do. These so-called cultists. These “non-Christians” everyone keeps accusing them of being. They are more Christian than most Christians. They GET the doctrine of Christ and LIVE it! Thus…CHRISTians.

And So On…

Part Two of this drama is the non-calls. I got a plant. Not a thoughtful, prayerful, heartfelt call. Not. A. Word.

Two couples and a single gentleman from our small group came to support me at my mother’s wake. That meant the world to me. And I get that’s what small groups are about, but I’m also a part of something bigger—it’s called, Church.

I have struggled with many issues within our church over the course of two years. And because of that, I never felt led to become a full fledged member. When I got saved in Tennessee, I “belonged” to a church immediately. I didn’t have to follow rigid procedures in order to be active in the church. I didn’t have to attend 9 million courses for them to finally consider me a member of their body. I was saved. I was God’s child. I was their family. That was all they needed to know.

That’s the difference. Family. Member. Am I a member of my church, or am I their family? I should be their family. The card on the plant even said so. But instead, I’ve been treated like a non-paying member who doesn’t receive the full benefits of membership. I apparently need to upgrade my membership to the Gold Level, where I pay higher tithes that I can’t afford so I won’t need to jump through hoops to start a small group in my home connected to the church. Or worse yet, maybe I needed to upgrade months ago so I could get noticed as someone who is mourning the death of a parent and is need of some help.

(Side note: Our small group has been incredibly supportive of us. Encouraging and loving. Helping us in our financial time of need here and there. But we can’t always attend our small group because of babysitter issues. Our group consists of mature couples and a few single people. But no one with small children. We don’t want to switch groups, because we love these people with all our hearts. However, small groups aren’t intended to replace the church. They are an extension of it. So my grievance isn’t against them by any means. It’s the church as a whole that seems to constantly disappoint.)

We’re supposed to call church “home,” but I’m feeling homeless. So much so, that I’m quite literally thinking of changing denominations either back to being a Catholic, or venturing off into the world of Mormonism. I can already hear it now, the snickers, the gasps of horror. But hear me clearly: the evangelical churches have lost their grip on the realities of needs within their churches. The Catholic leaders and members of my mother’s church were incredibly gracious and wonderful to me, and the Mormons (my in-laws) showed up in our time of need.

Hey Church, Where Are You?

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