The Sorrow in Every Pew

Dear old Joseph Parker, a fervid pulpit orator and fine pastor and author for several decades, said it well three years before he died:

There’s a broken heart in every pew. Preach to the sorrowing and you will never lack for a congregation.

There’s a say about people finding a church… If you find a perfect church, don’t join it or you will spoil it…

That’s a tongue in cheek way of saying:

There are no perfect churches.

There are no perfect pastors.

There are no perfect people.

Everyone has issues… Some are seen physically… Many are not…

The statistics for church going people with mental health issues remains at 25% / one in four / 1 in 4, the same as the rest of the world.

The stigma in churches I’m pretty sure is higher amongst church members than in the world… It’s okay to support some “poor soul” who is new to the church or supported by a church program which runs on Wednesday afternoon…

But if long standing church members were to admit it? That would be seen as a lack of faith! They need to pray more. They haven’t read their Bible enough or gone to enough Bible study groups!

They can’t admit as it or it would seem that Satan is winning!

So instead week upon week they come and play church… They sing during worship, they take notes with the message… They say hi and give hugs…

All the while they are screaming inside!

Recently I looked back on my journalling from 4 years ago and it frightened me… I told of talking to people as appropriate but also thinking they have no idea of what is really happening inside…

I was broken… My sorrow was deep… I had long stopped attending church for financial and other reasons (yes 20/20)… But yet, no one knew how desperate I was inside…

Why am I posting this?

When you greet friends this week… Don’t just hug say how are you? Ask again as you look in their eyes and seek to really know…

Are they part of the 25%

2 Comments

  1. As one of those 1/4 I agree – long standing church members are not supposed to get sick. I mean its OK to have cancer or a broken leg- then you will be visited and brought copious meals, but do not admit to mental health difficulties. At the moment I do not attend church. Instead I find myself questioning my faith if this is how the sick are dealt with. Very grateful for your blog which reminds me we can be Christian and depressed – and not condemned!

    • sryall

      It is said but true… Chonda Pierce, Christian comedian, talks about it with all her touring stops. She gave me idea that I would like to give my testimony in church and at the beginning say a prayer that there be healing for all those afflicted with issues from the shoulder on up… Then ask how many believe that healing had begun and God has touch the lives and to prove in by taken off their glasses then leave them in the pew and drive home…
      I’m sorry you can’t attend church… Maybe see if there is a Celebrate Recovery close by… You will find a forever family… No questions asked, a take off your mask and highly confidential support group and people dealing with issues just like you… I speak with confidence as CR saved my life…

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