Thursday, February 03, 2005

The church you need

"The church as we know it, so far from 'ideal,' does
in fact turn out to provide the ideal environment in
which these virtues can be cultivated.

"How could I learn patience or forbearance without
Brother Sam, who talks too much and demands just a
little more attention than I am ever ready to give?

"How could I develop kindness if the Reynolds family
didn't bring their autistic child to our small group –
where little Mikey's autism elicits from me a kindness
I never experienced before?

"How could I develop self-giving if I didn't follow
through on my commitment to attend that meeting last
night, even though I had a long hard day and was so
tempted to make an excuse and stay home to 'save'
myself rather than give myself?

"How could I develop forgiveness if I had not been
misjudged and gossiped about by the faction in our
church led by Mary Ellen Graves? How could I learn
courage unless I had to confront Mary Ellen for her
divisive attitude – with all due gentleness and
humility?

"Where else would I be stretched in my compassion
and generosity if I weren't part of this community of
flawed, needy, broken people – who, I must realize,
include me in their list of flawed, needy, broken
fellows?" Brian McLaren