I guess after 30+ years of being immersed in "the organized church" system, I've grown a bit tired of the various ways we churchy-types talk to one another. Like, even right there - "one another" - even THAT sounds a little stiff... well, to me.
For those who've been keeping up with me, you know that in May of this year (2009) I walked away from full-time music ministry to pursue a new life direction in entertainment, primarily comedy but with acting, writing and songwriting still tagging along for the ride. Since May I have had the chance to meet with a few churches for more of a part-time position - just to see if there might be a need to have an on-going regular income - albeit, at a smaller pay rate than a full-time job - but just to know that every 2 weeks we would have "X" amount to count on. Thus far, God has not seen fit to bless us that particular way - and, to be honest, while it has really stretched my faith, and while at times it makes me nervous, I am also feeling VERY taken care of by God - in ways I never really imagined. I've moved, I believe, from the "talk" aspect of being a Christian more into the "walk" aspect.
As I spoke to a few churches, I was met, once again, with the unmistakable way we churchy types communicate with each other. Honestly, it's rather icky on many levels.
Phrases like "ministry fit" and "God's will" fly around as if there is some huge gavel of ordination that will be THE determining factor in someone being hired to work at a church. Often times, the main reason we churchy types talk like this is because it's EASIER to blame GOD for things "not working out" than to blame ourselves or take responsibility for our decisions. If I don't like you as a candidate, for whatever reason, it's a lot easier to say, "Well, this is just not God's will" rather than, "you know, I just don't think you are the right person for this church." Just today I received a "rejection" letter from a church that did a very good job of attributing their reason for not hiring me to some sort of God-ordained reasoning. Bottom line - they wanted a rock band leader - not a 50+ piano player. Honestly, I would have felt better had they just said, "Gee, we really want an electric guitar player with long hair and hip clothes..." but then, that would make it more of a HUMAN decision, right? And we just can't have that in a church... or so we think!
Another side aspect to this - they also wanted me to supply a DVD of me "leading worship." I made the decision many years ago to NOT provide this. Ever. I have my reasons and I believe they are not only valid, but biblical. I will never send an "audition tape" of me leading a gathering of people that is supposed to be focused on GOD - and not the one doing the leading. Churches that don't like that should simply not call me. End of story. I understand the current trend - I understand that this is "how things work" these days. For me, it completely undermines the actual purpose of the position - and bases selection on PERFORMANCE rather than on WORSHIP. I am sure that part of the reasoning to not hire me had to do with my decision to not offer a DVD that they could watch.
I believe churches TEND to fail in our true ability to really reach people with Kingdom love and that one of the main reasons we are failing is due to our lack or normalcy in how we communicate with each other. Jesus was transparent and real. He calls us to be the same. We really need to trash all of our churchy talk and simply meet people and love them where they are - today - now. Otherwise, we are simply continuing the role of Pharisee...
Hint - Jesus didn't like the Pharisees very much...