I might have buried something today. The pastor at my home church has retired after 31 years and the celebration service was today. I attended with my dad and sister. My mother was there is the choir. It was the first time I have set foot in the Church since my dad quit working there. I promised I would go to the service to support him and to try to forgive these people.
My sister and I discussed that rather than make rude gestures that would degrade the house of worship, we would smile and say "thank you" (I was lucky that most of what was said could be logically responded to with a "thank you". I mostly said that rather than thinking of a response). It was hard to be there today. The retiring pastor has messed up lately and that mess up is fresh in my mind. I sat and listened to person after person stand and speak of all he and his family had done right. I thought about how I will remember this man and it made me realize part of what I want.
This pastor did a lot of good for me and my family. To be sure, he did more good than harm. Here's part of the problem, when a congregation runs on top down, personality led leadership, the Church will fail when the man does (in this case, it will always be "the man" although "the woman" could do it too). I don't want a pastor to be church for me. I want to struggle alongside someone who can share his or her experience and challenge me to grow along with them. When I accept that model, I have to forgive my former pastor.
So the bigger challenege remanins, to forgive the rest of the Church. I could write about five more paragraphs here and detail for you how I entertained myself by imagining that I could glare at one staff member on the platform until he spontaneously combusted. I don't think it would even be entertaining for you (unless the guy did burst into flames, because that would be a party). It's pointless and probably hurts me in the end.
I promise to now start taking people up on all those church invites. If I don't make it to your house of worship next Sunday, you are in queue. I took a nap in the middle of this entry and so I just reread the first paragraph. I know I buried my association with my home church today. I am hoping to bury the ugliness too.