Thursday, January 18, 2024

A Rant.... ish.

First a disclaimer: 

(I am placing this disclaimer at the beginning of this post, but I wrote it last.) 

This is a rant. One definition of a rant (from a Google Search) is "As a verb, "rant" means to speak or shout in an angry, impassioned way. It can also mean to complain in an unreasonable way."  Notice that it is impassioned, but it can also mean unreasonable. I readily accept that what you will read is truly a rant. Here are a few disclaimers if you choose to read my rant: 

  1. As a rant, this is not personal. If there is something in here that you actually do think is about you, it isn't. It might resemble you, but the reality is, there isn't anything in here that I reference that I haven't seen and/or experienced from multiple people. So... This isn't about you. You know who you are. You are the one who thinks everything is about them. This isn't about you. If you contact me and say, "Why did you write that about me?" I'm going to say, "You didn't read the disclaimer did you?"  
  2. As a rant, this will cover several different topics, and none of them in-depth. If you read it and think that I should have been more clear, I'm sorry. I am not trying to be very clear. It is a rant.
  3. As a rant, this will be primarily negative. I hope you don't read this and think that this rant is what I am usually like. I think that I am usually fairly positive. But I also don't think that I should entirely avoid these topics I'm ranting about. I think they are rant-worthy. If I strike a nerve, I  want you to know that I didn't have my crosshairs on you, but I did have them on these topics.
  4. Since this is a rant, I won't be sharing this link on Facebook. This means that the only people who see this will be people who actually follow me or seek me out. If I record this as a podcast, I won't be sharing that link on Facebook either. 
  5. Even though this is a rant, if you read anything here or listen to this and feel the need to say something to me, either through Facebook, Twitter (X), e-mail, phone, or in person... I will be more than happy to actually listen to you before I even think of defending myself. I am sure that ... because it is a rant ... my words will be full of inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and all manner of unreasonableness.  

Let the rant begin: 

I have been trying to write something / say something for a few months now. There are several topics which are throwing pebbles at the window of my attention. I've tried to appease these topics by writing about them and potentially podcasting about them, but I haven't been able to make it past the first paragraph or beyond 1 minute of recording. If I complete this sentence and hit "enter" I will have successfully surpassed my previous effort. 

OK. Here we are. I am pressing on because I've decided to do a conglomeration post. Instead of exploring any of these topics in depth, I will simply rant on each topic for a paragraph or two and then move on. In-depth coverage is just too daunting for my brain right now. Without further ado, because I don't have the patience for "ado" I will dig right in. 

Rant 1: Leaving the Church

The number of people who are around my age... people I've known, people I've just met, people I'm closely connected with, at least have a shared history with, are leaving church. I am not aware of any polls or statistics or recent data, I'm just speaking from my own personal perspective. Left and right, it (at least) feels like people are jumping ship. In addition to leaving the church, they are leaving their morality, their convictions, and sometimes their spouses. Being faithful to the end, enduring to the end, and bearing up in the name of steadfastness has been met with a hearty, "meh."

I know that there are all sorts of questions, comments, and concerns that could head my direction because of my tone when I write about this, but remember: this is a rant. You're probably used to all sorts of people doing rants about the church, but there aren't as many of us that do rants from the church. Quite frankly, I'm just sick of it. We've got people leaving the church, and the world hasn't even lit their torches or erected their stakes. I guess the good news is that we get to see a little more clearly who is on what side. Especially when some of those who have left have a lighter in their hand, ready to light the torch and throw it at my feet. (That is only partially figurative.)  This leads me to my second rant. 

Rant 2: Taking the Church (with them)

In the mix of those who have left the church, there is an alarmingly large number of people who have decided to take the church with them. And the creepy thing is... Yeah. I said creepy... that they are usually able to find a church that will welcome them in. Want to be a lesbian? There's a church for that. Want to be a woman, when you are currently in possession of attached testicles? There's a church for that, and you can get celebrated there on Mother's Day!  Want to tell women they can abort their unborn children? There's a church for that too!  Want to go to a church that will support you leaving your spouse so that you can live in an adulterous relationship, or a homosexual relationship, or a polyamorous relationship? Heck, don't want to get married, but want to be able to take your live-in girlfriend or boyfriend with you to church? You can find one on any degree of unrighteous celebration that your sin-saturated heart delights in, and your new woman pastor will give you a hug and a welcome as you come in and accept your rainbow badge. 

I really hate it when the ones who leave the church by trying to take the church with them, try to do it in their very own church. What I doubly hate even more is when the leaders of these churches, especially the larger churches with their big budgets, buckle under the pressure and go along with them. This very thing is what has led to some of the biggest schisms in the Presbyterian and Methodist churches to date. But it is also the thing that has solidified the stance of some of us hard-headed obstinate folk.

A side rant that could occur here is the heart-breaking response of so many parents who respond to their adult children doing this with a certain measure of accepting resignation... Folks, it is more important than ever that we run to the Bible for our response to apostasy. When the apostate is your child, your opportunity and your responsibility are huge. You don't need to cower to their demands, on the contrary, out of a great love for them why don't you respond the way we are told to respond? If there is any hope for them at all on that final day, it won't be found because you folded on your morals. Stop bluffing: And with Paul the apostle, hand them over for the destruction of the flesh AND the saving of the soul. 

Rant 3: Leaving a Church

There are good reasons and there are bad reasons to leave a church. Founders has a decent article on this topic you can read here. It does a pretty good job of outlining some good reasons and some bad reasons to leave. I've only left a church when I've moved to a new state, so I readily admit that I don't have the life experience of working through this decision on my own. That doesn't mean that I haven't experienced all of the bad reasons listed for leaving a church. There have been a few churches I've attended where I didn't agree with everything, but that is to be expected. But I have never attended a church where there was open or blatant heresy, so I haven't experienced this particular thing (needing to leave a church).  

I could use this third rant to talk about all of the shallow reasons why people leave a church, but that isn't what is really bugging me. What has really gotten under my craw is the way people leave a church. If you have left the church where I've served as the pastor for the last 14 1/2 years, and you read this and it hurts your feelings or you think I am talking about you... play this song and then move along... 

Instead of letting this rant sound like I'm all weepy, let's come at it this way. I'd like to offer some advice for when you leave. I would hold to this advice whether you are leaving for good reasons, bad reasons, average reasons, shallow reasons, important reasons, necessary reasons, piddly reasons, or no real reason. First, don't do it over text and definitely not via social media. This is something that should be done face-to-face. Second, don't wait multiple weeks after you've already left before you let anyone know. Please don't tell people who are checking on you and wondering where you are that you just haven't been feeling well. Lying is never a part of any godly decision unless you are hiding the spies from Jericho's authorities. This means that you ought to also be honest about your reasons. Whether the reasons are good, bad, or ugly, just say it. And for the love... be willing to have a conversation about it. Even if you think people will disagree with you, but especially if you are leaving because of a reason where you feel justified. There is other advice that I could give, but let's just start with these two points. I won't go any further, because I'm ranting. 

From someone who stayed: here is the truth. For everyone who has ever left Edgewood, it hurt. Whether it was inevitable, necessary, justified, or silly... It hurt. Maybe I shouldn't have been hurt... I don't know about that. I just know that it did. And the ease that many exhibited as they left added insult to the injury. More could be said here and probably ought to be, but this is a rant, so I will move on. 

Rant 4: Geometry 

I know. This one seems like it is coming out of nowhere. Everything I've said so far has to do with church. But I'm ranting right? This isn't all supposed to make sense!

Here it is: I've been in education for almost 24 years now, and in almost every one of those years, I taught Geometry. And here's the thing: I teach half of what I used to teach. That is not an exaggeration. Half. There are whole parts of Geometry that are no longer covered. A big one? Proofs. 

Ok, Ok... I know. You didn't like proofs when you were in school. Whatever. You haven't used any of that stuff since. Whatever. That isn't my point. My point is half of Geometry is gone. It's just gone. And as a person who loves Geometry, that is depressing. I personally loved proofs. And we actually have one of the biggest applications to proofs in our modern world that we didn't used to have -- Programming languages. Coding. There is so much of the logic that we used to teach (just so happens) in Geometry that isn't there anymore. I need to elaborate on this, so I will end the rant. 


Yeah. There is more, but I will stop myself. I just needed to post something... write something... podcast something. I've had writer's block for such a long time. This just needed to be "dumped".  

Final thought: I cannot tell you how much it would mean to me if someone... anyone... saw this and responded. It wouldn't even need to be nice. Anything. Mostly because I actually do love people. I hope my ranting hasn't clouded over that too much. I hope that you can see through the rant and recognize that my heart is actually breaking when people leave the church. That mingled with the anger at people trying to take the church with them is a compassion that those same people are being snagged by the lies. Especially our children. That when people have left Edgewood, the hurt I've experienced is mostly about missing those actual people. I miss you and I wish there were some way our fellowship could have continued. And that when I get annoyed at where education has declined, it is actually because I care about kids. I used to love the logical elements of Geometry because it was all about how to think, what we should assume, what we should seek to prove, and how one would go about doing that. 

End of Rant.

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