The church is a whore… | the third place

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“The church is a whore, but she is also my mother.” – St Augustine

I heard Tony Campolo recently quote this from St. Augustine and it articulated so many of the feelings I have for the church.

She is my mother! And I love her. She is the beautiful bride of Christ and my life is due her. She birthed me, shaped me, changed me, supported me and made me who I am today. I am indebted to her and I truly love her.

I love the church.

She carried me through family deaths, cancers, family dysfunction, times of great fear and my own struggles as an addict. And she continues to do so.

She inspired me to take my love for God and dream big. She equipped me to translate my love for God and his word into my everyday life. She exhorted me to not settle in my shortcomings and be the man God created me to be. She moved me in deeps ways, ways that still bring tears to my eyes – to think of the church and the people that have been there for me, prayed with me, celebrated my life and cheered for me in my successes. And she continues to do so.

I love her, she is my mother.

But she has been such a whore too. And feeling like a son who loves his mother, she has been such an embarrassment in my life.

She has on so many occasions contradicted the things she’s called me to be. She has been a source of incredible hurt and pain in my life. While calling me to live to a higher standard, she has bastardized her own belief in grace, forgiveness and love. While telling me she loves me, she has hurt me.

She has made my deep sense of calling so hard to bridge with my friends who need her love. Her actions have made it so hard to invite others into the family. She has scared off the ones she is called to mother.

I mean, how can she have been such a blessing in my life at times and such a joke in others?

I’m thankful for the promises of God that I have become convinced of in my life. I’m thankful that God’s mercy and love for me kept me from running away from her so many times. I want to see Jesus’ bride redeemed and see her love change the world…the way it changed mine.

My life is committed to loving her, seeing her restored and bridging the gap between her and those facing a Christ-less eternity. My calling in life is just that. My dreams are to see that happen.

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