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My Take on Shane’s Take August 27, 2010

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity, life, The Church, Uncategorized.
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This is a response to my friend Shane’s recently posted blog called “Can You Handle the Truth?” You should definitely go to http://www.ShanesTake.com and read it.

As a wannabe pastor, writer, and blogger it’s one of my daily habits to read through the Christian blogosphere to get my spiritual, intellectual, and creative juices flowing. I read everything from Matthew Paul Turner’s irreverent http://www.jesusneedsnewpr.net to Rachel Held Evans endless questions at http://www.rachelheldevans.com to Jon Acuff’s hilarious observations at http://www.stuffchristianslike.net and every thing in between. I’ve read a lot of posts that have a certain amount of sting in them but the one I read tonight from my friend Shane tonight really cut deep. Maybe it hurt so bad because I know Shane and know some of his history, or maybe it was because I know there is a fair amount of truth in his accusations of the Church.

Part of me gets offended when people call out the Church so harshly, as Shane does, because I am apart of it and I feel a certain amount of responsibility to defend Christ’s Bride. But, when I read over Shane’s blog again, I can’t find much that I can argue with because I have seen many of the things that he has brought up, though I do see it from a different angle than he does.

You see, Shane and I had two very different upbringings. All things considered, I had an almost fairy-tale type of childhood. My sister and I got pretty much everything we ever wanted. Our parents were happy, healthy, and had a good marriage. Shane and his sister, however, tragically lost their mother at a young age, which sent Shane and his family into a tailspin. I met Shane a couple years after this when he came to visit his grandparents who lived in Mississippi (Shane was from Texas).  I remember being pretty apprehensive about meeting him due to my socially awkward tendencies. But, it turned out we got along fairly easily, mostly due to Shane’s sense of humor and easy going nature. He wasn’t without his own idiosyncrasies, though. He had an odd fascination with Tom Cruise on account that he thought he looked like him. I never saw it, but who was I to argue?

Shane would come down for a few weeks every summer and as we often talked about his past. He would ask me questions about God and the Bible and I would answer them the best I could. We both knew that Shane needed to fill a hole in his life and that whole looked a lot like Jesus. I remember on one night before he was about to leave to go back to Texas we were having an interesting conversation about his lifestyle when he picked up my Bible and said, “Well, believe it or not, I really want to get into this stuff.” I told him I wished he would, but in the back of my mind I didn’t see him doing it. I thought he desire for sex and alcohol would easily trump his desire for God.

The next time I saw him, he wasn’t the same person. He knew more about the Bible than I did, and even the way he carried himself was different. To this day, I’ve never seen such a change in anyone. This time instead of going to the skating rink or to the water park to try and make out with random girls, we actually went “street witnessing” at Wal-Mart. I absolutely loathe this practice now as it is easily the most ineffective for of evangelism know to man, especially in America. The last thing anybody wants is for someone to stick a tract in their face while they’re trying to find ripe tomatoes. But, we didn’t care. We just wanted to tell people about Jesus. In all honesty, seeing Shane change the way he did was a catalyst for my own faith. Knowing that God could do that kind of a work in someone whom I thought was beyond hope made me realize that God can do anything and that no one was out of His reach.

That was the last time I saw Shane, if memory serves, but his grandparents and his sister who moved here, did keep me updated on how he was doing. He married his girlfriend, Nicole, who was just as passionate about God as he was, when he was 19 and became a youth pastor. A few years later, I even saw him on a webshow called The Shimmy Show. It was hilarious and I can’t tell you how much it excited me to see my friend enjoying his life and having a successful ministry and family life. A few months later, though, I heard awful news. Shane and Nicole got divorced and Shane left the ministry. My heart broke. I heard lots of rumors about what happened, and I don’t know if any of them were true, but even if they weren’t through the modern marvels of Facebook and Twitter, I could tell my friend was hurting, even if he wouldn’t admit it.

That leads us to tonight. Shane has posted a couple of blogs revealing a little bit about what led to his leaving the ministry and the reasons he’s revealing are downright scary. Frankly, I really don’t know if Shane had enough time to see the ugly side of the Church before he got into ministry, which is currently making me thankful that God has delayed my starting time in it. Shane talks about how Christians cover up their struggles, because if they truly were to reveal them, most people in the Church would isolate them if not try to kick them out, or at the very least give them a bunch of cliched answers on what they need to do better. I realized this a long time ago when I went through something very painful in my own life that caused me to lose a lot of friends. But, even though I lost a lot of friends in that time, I did discover that I did a few (and I do stress a few), that really did love me were willing to stand beside me and even defend me. Reading Shane’s blog made me wonder where those people were for him? Did he even realize they were there? Did he really not have any? There was no one in his faith community that he could confess his struggles too and not judge him but love him through them? That’s hard for me to believe, but at the same time I can see how those few could get lost in the mob of the stone throwers. So much of what Shane says rings true. That’s why I really want us to take a long, cold, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves as Shane asks, “Can I handle the truth?”

The key to answering that question honestly is to remember the truth about ourselves. I need grace. I need grace so bad. How could I not show grace to another? How could I be shocked at another’s sin and struggles when I know all of the shocking atrocities that I have commited?

Shane, I love you. Thank you for motivating me with your transparency, your grace, and even your pain.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. – 1 John 4:20

 

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