This past weekend, I visited a friend’s church and thought I’d write something about it, then thought about my wife’s experience with another site last year. Apparently, someone visits churches like a restaurant critic and picks apart the service. She spent quite some time worried about what this person said. I thought to myself at the time, “Why does she even worry about this idiot, who doesn’t even dare show his (or her) face?” But she did and it was needless suffering. I say “needless” because the people who wrote whatever didn’t need to do it. My grandmother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. This blog isn’t always nice, but it’s usually about opinions rather than personal attacks. I might have hated George Bush’s politics, but I never would have said, “oh, and I don’t like the color of his suits” because it’s picking on personal details that have nothing to do with what’s important. When I started this blog, I wanted to write about important things, not trivial ones. If you want trivial in your news, you can get that in soooo many other places. As it is, I generally write only when I’m passionate about something — when I feel compelled to write or say something about a subject. I am amazed (and a little embarrassed, frankly) at the number of things I feel compelled to write about (thus, even, the title of the blog…)
In any case, you’ll hear me complain or get angry about theology, about ideas, but seldom against a person who dares to create or is honestly trying to do Christianity. But bad theology, things that make Christians look like heartless idiots with no relation to Jesus as I understand him — those things will show up elsewhere –mostly under the “do your own theology” or “ethics” sections.
As I start to write Todd’s piece, I remember that I have written a few pieces about people doing work that Jesus (and a whole lot of other people) would recognize as Christian work. I have written a few pieces about South Church when it’s great, one about Celebrate Recovery, and one about Gerry Claytor’s ministry, and a couple about Camps and Conferences for Youth. You’ll note that none of them are about “good” or “bad theology”. Each of them is a more personal story of life-change happening via the Christian faith. It’s not about right,left, or center. It’s about what happens when the Spirit shows up in the world and people are reminded of Jesus or God and how they make the world better.
I thought it would be nice if people could find those stories all in one place when the world or other images of Christianity make the faith look bad or when they’ve just had a hard day and need to be reminded of the good that ordinary people do in the real world. So, welcome to a new category on my blog: “The Good Church\Real Christianity” . The first piece will about the Rev. Todd Farnsworth and his little church in the-middle-of-nowhere, Belchertown UCC located in Belchertown,MA.