Monthly Archives: February 2015

Hypocrites in Church

Some people use the following excuse for not being part of a church community: Church is full of hypocrites.

I prefer to think of it this way: Church is full of imperfect humans.

Churchgoers are sometimes viewed as self-righteous, when the opposite is likely truer. Many of us attend church because we understand that we are flawed, imperfect humans, and we seek inspiration for personal and spiritual growth. We recognize that often our behavior is not very Christ-like. What would Jesus do? Not what I just did.

In Christian churches, we proclaim a desire to follow the examples of Jesus. As with our approach to which of the Ten Commandments we choose to obey, some of us, perhaps most of us, choose which of Jesus’s examples to emulate. We readily feed the poor and show compassion for the homeless, while snubbing a church member we don’t like. We judge others, gossip about things that could be left unsaid, tear others down instead of lifting them up. Love our neighbor as our self? Most of us miss the mark on any given day.

Sometimes our clergy do not set a good example for us, and we judge them to be hypocrites. We hold them to a higher standard because of their ordination as disciples of Christ. Yet, they too are imperfect humans, as are we all. Sometimes we deem that a church leader could benefit from a large dose of humility. Look in the mirror.

Looking in the mirror is what the season of Lent means to me—self-reflection. It is easy to give up a favorite food, activity, some tangible thing. It is more challenging to give up certain attitudes that are not very Christ-like. It is more challenging to be totally honest with myself about missing the mark set for us by Jesus. Therein lies my Lenten focus—giving up flawed attitudes, and taking up a greater awareness of the examples set by Jesus, more mindful of the true meaning of being a Christian.

I consider myself a Christian by a profession of faith. However, my thoughts, attitudes, actions and reactions often miss the mark of the true Christian way of being. It is more honest to say that I am learning to be a Christian, learning to walk in love, learning to practice the examples of Jesus, which is an ongoing and life-long study. When I look in the mirror, I can see that sometimes I look like a hypocrite.

All churchgoers are not exemplary Christians. As the saying goes, “Sitting in a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.” Not the best analogy, but it makes a point.

Yes, there are hypocrites in church, and many of us are there for spiritual growth, trying to be better.

Joys of Blogging

I started a blog as a creative exercise, with a more disciplined approach to writing my thoughts than just jotting down in my journal in incomplete sentences, not mindful of whether anyone else could make sense of it. I had no expectations for feedback, followers, or connecting with others. I simply wanted to write and share. I also wanted to see if I could set up a blog without any help. At a certain age, advancing technology becomes a challenge.

Now I write four blogs, and the experience unfolds to new delights and surprises almost daily.

Last week, a blogger in India liked my post on Morning Reflections. His posts about compassion and kindness remind that we can make a difference in the world through acts of kindness and respect for every individual’s humanity. His blog has thousands of followers. Imagine the impact of thousands of followers advocating kindness and compassion worldwide, sharing with everyone they know! A veritable peace train could take form.

This morning I posted a thought about leaving a legacy in nature for the benefit of future generations. Thus, I “met” an artist/photographer in Europe who shares his stunning photos on his blog site. I was also introduced to a blogger in northwest U.S., an ecologist whose passion for nature is reflected in exquisite photos and rich poetry. A musician and poet in Germany also liked my post. And the hits just keep on comin’.

Connecting with kindred spirits who see and appreciate the beauty in nature is a good feeling. Connecting with crusaders for universal kindness and compassion elevates hope for the progress of humankind. The bell that rings loudest for me signals that blogging can be a powerful tool to plant constructive ideas and seeds of hope for better stewardship of our marvelous planet.