The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say. Kahlil Gibran
Who do you listen to? Or better yet,
who is listening to and watching you?
I shared with a pastor recently that my husband and I do not feel welcome in his church and will probably not be coming back even though we enjoy the service. It isn’t necessarily what has been said to us directly but rather what is being said around us that makes us feel this way. I wish I could put my finger on exactly what it is that we are hearing, or seeing but I can’t. There is an underlying communication that we aren’t welcome unless we make ourselves fit in with their orthodox point of view. We feel like square pegs trying to fit into a myopic pin point of a hole.
We aren’t orthodox. We’re confessional as far as Lutherans go, and yet — we feel unwelcome because we’re different. Not wrong mind you, just different. They call praise music “sick and wrong” and we’re praise musicians. They refer to people working the church plants as “nice and well intended, but misguided” — and we’re church plant volunteers. Their deacon speaks of how wonderful he feels being part of such a “godly” group of leaders — unlike his last church — which is our present church by they way.
We’re life long Christians — feeling unwelcome and looked down upon in a Christian church within our own denomination — all in the name of who knows what really. I wonder how a non-Christian feels when they come in their doors? Do they come back – or do they silently leave like we did.
What kinds of things do you say when you think no one is listening? What does your body language look like when you think no one is looking? Who isn’t coming back to your church? Or — another question – have you ever felt hurt and unwelcome in church? How did you handle it?