Several of you have requested that I link all four parts of The Parable of the Gym together. You can click on the title and read them. By the way, there is more to this parable than I have published. And I am preparing to do an edit of these, so your remarks via comment or email are welcomed.
I really hesitated to post this. The parable is a stinging rebuke of the church from Trent, the main character in my novel. He is hurting deeply, and as people who hurt often do, he writes in a stream of conscientiousness that leaves no room for editing. So perhaps it is unfair. However, the parable was written after many conversations with hurting pastors and faithful church people. And, I wrote in the midst of my own dark days of burnout.
I publish the parable here not as a declaration against any church or denomination. I love mine. Rather, it is a starting place for discussion, and I believe holds many painful truths about how the church presents herself to a world that needs her message. Even if spiritually seeking people are wrong about how they perceive their treatment at the hands of the church, to them their perception is--well--their perception.
Wherever Jesus ministered, he was most often loved and admired by those outside of his religious circles. And those inside of it? Not so much. Does today's church find itself being the person and presence of Jesus to the world? Or are we playing the role of those to whom Jesus issued his most stern of warnings?
Grace and peace to you as you seek to be the person and presence of Jesus.