I've talked to a lot of young (and not so young) Christians about their disappointment in the church. Many have been hurt by the church. Many more hurt for others who have borne the brunt of the church's injustices and failures.

Some of those I've talked to have been subject to criticism or suspicion because they have loved art, or music, or words, or peace, or people that the church has rejected or merely overlooked.

They have felt compassion for the outsiders spurned by the church.

They have studied history and are rightly angry over the racism of the church.

They have witnessed the present and are bewildered by the continued marginalization of some by the church.

They say the church is too shallow, caught up in outward trappings which sacrifice the substance of the gospel.

They have found the church too unwelcoming of hard questions, expressions of doubt, and spiritual struggles.

They have heard the call for war made in the name of the church.

They have seen the lure of lucre play out in the church.

They are disappointed that the church has not done what Jesus refused to do: overturn the prevailing political system and replace it with one built on Christian ideals.

They have seen co-workers disrespected and treated rudely by people who then turn around and pray over their meals.

They have seen—or been—the fallen woman (although not likely, inexplicably, the fallen man) treated not like a beloved sister but like a cup full of spit.

If only the church would see such as these with the eyes of Christ, they say.

And I say, in return, emphatically, Yes. If only we could see all with the eyes of Christ.

Yet, I want to say, gently or perhaps not-so-gently, That way you want the church to love those you love? Unconditionally, ...

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