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Healing People Heal People: Reflections on Why I Want to Start A Church (Miniblog #140)

by Carson T. Clark on October 30, 2012

I’ve often said one of my life goals is to start at least one church that helps those who are where I’ve been. It breaks my heart that people regularly have to leave the local church in order to think and leave the academy to have faith. The life of the mind should be seen not as detrimental to one’s pursuit of God, but an integral part of it.11.That’s why I’m so committed to the integration of faith and learning. Likewise, my heart is filled with sorrow that so often hurting people must leave the church to experience compassion and leave the counselor’s office to experience spiritual renewal. Heart and spirit should not be so disjointed. Our lives were not meant to be so fragmented.22.We’re holistic people made in God’s image. Christ said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s why I think it’s such a tragedy that the cultures of most of our local churches don’t validate–let alone encourage–transparency with psychological struggles, honest spiritual wrestling with God, rigorous pursuit of truth, active service with our bodies, or genuine care for those living in our community.33.Most may do one or two well, but if we’re not doing all these things, what the hell is the point? Going back to my opening sentence, over the years many mentors and peers have cautioned me against starting a church with such a culture.44.As one well-intentioned pastor put it, “You’ve got to be honest about social dynamics. Light attract like and dark attracts dark. Your community needs to be open to [those things], but by making them an emphasis you’re setting yourself up for an unhealthy environment full of toxicity. Be an optimistic, not a pessimist. Hurting people hurt people. Remember that.” On a day that I’m feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, I’m having to remind myself what while I do think it true that hurting people hurt people, I’ve found the inverse true as well. Healing people heal people.

  • Adam Cirone

    The idea that one should avoid a church in which aspects such as transparency with struggles (psychological and spiritual) or commitments to service are not central sounds outright insane and counter-Biblical to me. I have been a part of Xenos Christian Fellowship in Columbus Ohio at various times during the past several years, and our community was always characterized by these aspects and it was wonderful.

    There need to be more churches in our world where transparency is valued and people are committed to Christ and each other rather than the image of the church.

  • Justin Burkholder

    Great stuff man. Super pumped for you!

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