Compassionate Conservatism?

It saddens me a little that only one person from the church I left back in April has contacted me to say they’ve been thinking about me and she was the busiest person I’ve ever known. Hadn’t even heard a peep out of the pastor! Fortunately, I work at a church and the members and staff there have been GREAT! And it’s a “liberal” denomination! I’ve seen more compassion and concern out of the people and staff here than I ever have in my 23 years as a fundamentalist. What does that say? Hmmmm? It tells me that conservatism is more concerned with personal piety and “correct” doctrine than with people.

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13 thoughts on “Compassionate Conservatism?

  1. MOI,
    The same thing happened to me, and several others I know. My friend Stuart was involved in the music team (keyboards) so was up the front of the church a lot for SEVEN years, When he finally decided to leave, not one single person called him. His wife had been a SUnday school teacher for several years too. Another couple I know were in the leadership team of a large fundie church. Again, when they left … not one single phone call. After I left my church, I was on the music team and the preaching team. Everybody knew me. My name was in the church telephone directory. No-one called. Yet when I was “in the church” the phone rang lots when they needed a keyboard player or an extra person on the cleaning roster or help with the working bee. I concluded that “churches” are really just clubs, with a set of unspoken rules. Break any of those rules, and you’re out of the club on your ass. Grrr.
    Jon

  2. “What does that say? Hmmmm? It tells me that conservatism is more concerned with personal piety and “correct” doctrine than with people.”

    It saddens me that this is entirely possible. As a theological conservative (NOT “fundie”), know I’m fighting the same fight within that circle. We’re not all republicans! I swear! 🙂

    I’m glad you are finding spiritual and emotional nourishment, MOI.

  3. Jon,

    Now why is this, I wonder? It’s true that they are concerned more with keeping the church going than ministering to personal needs. It also seems as if the stronger you appear, the less people think you need any spiritual help at all. One should never assume, I think.

  4. Why is this? My theory is that it is the result of a false expectation. If you join the local bridge club, you are not disappointed if no-one really seems to care that much about you. It is clear to everyone that you are there to play bridge. But when you the “church” club, they all say/sing/pray/read that “we are a family”, so you get the expectation that you will be treated like a family member. But alas … this proves to be not the case. Most of the problems could be avoided if churches were just a bit more honest and realistic and said up front “we are a club, we don’t really give that much of a damn about each other, but we are trying to work together to get and keep a few more members”
    My (rather cynical) 2 cents worth.
    Jon

  5. I’m currently wondering about the scriptures that talk about being part of a body, members of one another. I am working so hard at staying in my church, but I want to much to leave-it keeps me anchored -in an unhealthy way. I fear drifting off into some spiritual alone place if I leave..so I stay..for now.

  6. Hi Robin,
    You know I worried about that too, but I’ve found much to keep me “connected” with spirituality and christianity online and in blogs and forums. It’s not been bad at all! I’m not furthering toxic relationships and my faith has returned, not in humanity, but in Jesus. I’m so glad I left.

  7. Hi, MOI….
    What you just described may have been the hardest part of leaving the church – the absolute stone dead silence that came afterwards. When I think about the people there…the women that I looked after, for example, as head of the Women’s Ministry…well. It was definitely heartbreaking.

    🙂 Isn’t it wonderful how we can connect to Jesus so powerfully using alternative methods? I suppose 2000 years ago, the ONLY way ‘believers’ could connect with each other was in face to face meetings. We have so many great alternatives now.

  8. Grace,
    So true! In fact, it’s very odd. Working as an administrative assistant in a large church has proved far more fulfilling than actually being a member of one. Very strange. The other day at staff meeting, they were praying for my upcoming surgery and it was very comforting. Of course, if I don’t come back to work everything will fall apart! They have motivation to pray that all goes well. 🙂

  9. MOI: I’m sad to report that you are correct on this one! In today’s church culture where bigger is better, the issues of care and concern have been lost. It’s about numbers and giving so we can build a bigger building and purchase more “stuff” (in the name of ministry, of course). It also involves the egos of so many pastors … the first question asked among most pastors is: “how big is your church?” It’s sad. I pastor a theologically conservative church … but I decry the motives of the evangelical church growth movement and its human cost. When souls get left out of the equation, we have failed Christ, and Paul’s vision of the body is relegated to lip service. I’m glad you’re feeling loved and shepherded at your current job. May the God of all comfort bless you as you heal.

  10. Is this blog still current… if so, let me know. I was going to post but wasn’t sure if anyone is still managing this blog.

  11. Over and Out,

    I’m leaving to go to Eastern Europe in two days, so won’t have access to the internet for two weeks or more. You can still comment if you like. I will return.

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