Yesterday did me in. I tried to teach clearly, but what was coming out of my mouth wasn't making sense. I felt frustrated and wanted to walk away. It wasn't that the message was a difficult subject, but that so much is going through my mind right now. I know several pastors who are seriously struggling deeply with the church and as a result their faith. I know even more people who are just walking away from the whole church and Christian enterprise. Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to inflate a balloon with a huge hole in it. Often I feel like we're still putting on a poor show, a tragedy. Scratch it all and start over. That's what I think. I recently received a thoughtful comment from another blogger. I checked out her blog and discovered that she had begun as a devout Christian, but through a series of attempts at running a kind of chat-room for Christians, she decided that she just couldn't be a part of all that crap and eventually became agnostic and now a kind of universalist. Whatever she is doesn't matter to me. What matters is how she got there: beaten and wounded by the church and the people in it. I've been thinking about the story of the Good Samaritan: in sermons we hear different angles on who represents us in the story. Sometimes we are the different people who pass the wounded man by. Sometimes we represent the inn-keeper who will take care of the wounded man. Sometimes we identify with the wounded man himself. Sometimes we are compared to the Samaritan who actually helps the man. I have an idea: how about we compare ourselves with the people who beat him up and robbed him and left him for dead? I'm seeing it all over the map. Not just strangers, but friends and family of mine. I know more people wounded and damaged by the church than those who have benefited from it. And the people who seem to benefit from it are mostly the brutal beaters. I think we are in danger. Few seem to notice or care. The righteous are eating us up! LOOK HERE! And because it's done in the name of Jesus we all say Go ahead, rape me if God so wills! Abuse is rampant and like a seriously dysfunctional family nobody's willing to say anything. I got some heat over saying that we are all on the same sinking ship. I still say so. All have gone astray. All have been imprisoned in disobedience! The least we can do is admit it and have mercy on our way down together. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Howard Nowlan.