Thank you, Billy.
Three years ago my family and I were in the midst of a process that eventually brought us out of a church we had been involved with for over 25 years. In the midst of that process more then a few people made the remark, “No church is perfect” or, “You’ll never find the perfect church.” These statements were true enough in and of themselves, but were pointing to a matter that was never the real issue in all the cogitations and wrestling of soul that lead us out of that church. In fact those who made those remarks were actually way wide of the mark, and missed the real issues at hand. The “no perfect church” mantra became a smoke screen to avoid the real issue.
The real issue never was that of finding the “perfect church”. The real issue was a toxic spiritual culture that was antithical to the advancement of true spirituality. We were not talking about an imperfect church, we were talking about a destructive church that was choking and smothering true Christian spirituality.
As I look back over the years in that church, I realize that any real growth I had in true spirituality was when I was standing against some of the prevailing tides that would sweep over that particular congregation; the times when I refused to accept the pulpit pronouncements on this or that, and forged my own opinion on the basis of my own study and wrestling before God, and my own observations of the wider cultural scene.
But overall the toxicity corroded the soul and heart to the point where I knew if I stayed, true life would be extinguished and I’d become another spiritual zombie in the congregation of the “Stepford Christians”.
It is amazing to me in looking back, how some who should have known better, would go to such lengths and twisting of reason to justify issues and actions that were just plain unjustifiable. I observed a Protestant version of Jesuit-like casuistry that was very cultic like in its fruits.
So the next time someone tells you there is “no perfect church”, please tell them finding the “perfect church” is not, and never was, the issue.