Friday, January 13, 2012

Tradition. The only measure of quality, apparently.

Yesterday at work I had a conversation with a co-worker who is finding herself dissatisfied with her church. The church has a pastor she doesn’t agree with, and who makes decisions she wouldn’t, and she doesn’t respect those decisions. But she hasn’t stopped going. She has decided not to go consistently, but there wasn’t, in the course of our 10 minute conversation, an acknowledgement that she had made the decision to separate from the church. The justification for staying with it was that she had been going for most of her life. I don’t understand the reasoning that something must be good only because it has continued for X number of years. Solely because of the number of years. There’s nothing in that statement that speaks to the quality of the time, it only acknowledges the quantity. If a mechanic is around for 15 years, it doesn’t mean I will take my car there. I will still base my decision for using that mechanic on the quality of work the shop provides.

After listing the multiple reasons why she doesn’t trust this pastor, I simply said, “Do you realize how many red flags you’ve thrown out?” I wanted her to know that she could say No to something she feels is wrong. If there’s ever anything I want people to embrace, it is for them to have confidence in themselves and decisions they make. Not blind decisions, or uninformed decisions, but decisions based on evidence and research. Educated decisions. If you feel something is off or wrong, TRUST the instinct. There is safety in numbers, you feel better when someone listens to what you have to say and agrees. I know, I’m constantly guilty of being absurdly relieved when someone says, “You’re not crazy, that’s a valid point”, and then I’m all confident and swaggery and say, I KNOW!

And it’s not against church. I don’t want her to stop going to church, I want her to find a place where she does trust the pastor, trusts the people in it, have inspirational services and conversations that help her grow in life. What I think is hard for people to balance is, there are villians in the church too. There are people who prove themselves untrustworthy by their words and actions. Dishonesty is, frustratingly, under rated.

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