Community / Faith

The Church is a Whore, But She is My Mother (Part 1): An Open Letter to the World

St Augustine said, “The Church is a whore, but she is my mother.” In Lord Save Us From Your Followers, Tony Campolo unpacks all that this statement means. The church has been an unfaithful bride to Christ by “not living up to her wedding vows”. She has whored and left her home, leaving behind her responsibilities to her Groom. But for “all of it’s flaws and shortcomings,… it has still been that which has carried the Gospel down through the ages”. Anyone that claims Christ has joined in relationship with Him through His Bride, His hands and feet on this earth. That is my heart throughout this three-part series. A heart of forgiveness and reconciliation to those the Church has left in its wake, a heart of repentance and hope for the Church that I so lovingly belong to, and a heart of perseverance and commitment to those trying to learn from our past and make a better future. Please check back for the next two Mondays to hear an open letter to the Church, and a call to action.

To Those Who the Church Has Hurt:

My heart breaks that my Church has hurt you. I am painfully aware that it has been a source of grief to many for many reasons. The crusades, preachers that have condemned gay people and soldiers, and all of the times we’ve marched in ungodly war in the name of God. The televangelists that showed you our greed, the scandals that were committed and covered up, the pastors that ran away with their secretaries. Condemning the LGBT community instead of loving them, and blaming them for the aids crisis. We have mixed politics with religion and sometimes even made these two things more important than God Himself. We have picketed abortion clinics and pride parades and even committed acts of violence in God’s name. We have allowed our love of money and success to overrule our commission to live in love and sacrifice. The oppression of women, the hatred of Muslims and those of other religions, and the argumentative, defensive approach we take in our relationships with atheists. The hands and feet of Christ have sometimes done a very poor job of showing His love and mercy. For all of these things and the things this Church I love will do in the future, I ask your forgiveness.

I ask you to please forgive me for my own personal sins against you. I have committed acts of hate in my own heart. Though I was not standing on the street with a picket sign, my sins are just as big. I have built relationships with the agenda of converting someone rather than just wanting to be a friend, having the prideful heart that thought I had the power to convert someone. I have even taken a class on how to draw an elaborate illustration that will show God’s love for you, as if God needed that to be loved and known. I have been uncomfortable and uneasy around people that live life differently than I do, and have had hateful thoughts in my heart toward you. Fighting and arguing instead of hugging and listening, I have fought to make my point and be right. I have listened to gay jokes and partaken in them, I have listened to leaders when their answers were different than Jesus’, and I have intentionally not talked to you because I was scared of being too “into the world”. From the bottom of my sinful heart, I ask for your forgiveness and mercy. God called me to love and extend a hand of friendship to all people and to be a part of His hands and feet, and I have failed and will continue to fail. Please remember that I love you very deeply and that I am sorry for showing you anything but that.

I am not naive to what hurt feels like; I have been on both sides. I’ve had Christians question my spirituality based on my outward appearance. I’ve been told I was abandoning the youth group when my husband and I stepped down to focus on our marriage. I’ve sat in a courtroom and been accused of repulsive, evil things by a lawyer who was a deacon at the church on Sundays. I’ve had my heart break many times under the sins of the Church. I’m so sorry that I have ever hurt you, because I know how much pain it causes to be condemned. We usually hurt other people when we have been hurt ourselves, and I commit to you to try to stop this cycle in my own heart.

In the future, I know my Church and I will hurt you again. As much as it breaks my heart to say that, I recognize that we are human and still sinners for this lifetime. We aren’t perfect and sometimes we will let our anger, greed, or intolerance speak for us instead of looking to Christ. I would ask you to try to be patient with us as we are trying to live out our love for you and for this world. From the bottom of our hearts, we love you because you are you. We love you because Christ first loved us and we are to extend that love to everyone. Please accept my apology and love from my heart and on behalf of the beautiful Bride of Christ that I call my Church.

♥Katie

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2 thoughts on “The Church is a Whore, But She is My Mother (Part 1): An Open Letter to the World

  1. Pingback: The Church is a Whore, But She is my Mother (Part 2): An Open Letter to the Church | Love Big, Live Small

  2. Pingback: The Church is a Whore, But She is My Mother (Part 3): Why the Church is Worth it | Love Big, Live Small

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