Tuesday, May 1, 2012

broken faith

We are surrounded by institutions.  The government, hospitals/health care, education, churches are all institutions that have a certain equity that comes by virtue of their very being...however, things can happen along the way that undermine one's faith in the institution and once faith is broken, it is hard to trust again, even if one's very well being is dependent on the institution.

My daughter had chest pains on Monday - she said she felt as if a brick was parked on her chest.  Also her pulse rate is in the 40s, great if you're Lance Armstrong, but not if you're an average 23 year old mom 3 months after the birth of your first child.  She called her primary care physician who sent her straight to the local Emergency Room.  After a few tests they decided to send her to our teaching hospital, 100 miles from home.

Late last night she was admitted and spent the night and much of the morning awaiting tests and consults.  This morning's tests led to one conclusion - this is not a heart problem, so she can go home.  However, we have no idea why she continues to be in pain.  Really?  That's it?

I am grateful that Lauren is well educated and able to advocate for herself.  We tried to explain our frustration to the doctor and he threw his hands up in the air, explaining again that he is a cardiologist, it is not a heart problem, so she should be relieved.

Emotionally she is hurt and she is frustrated because she feels as if no one is really listening to her.  As I write this tears are rolling down her cheeks, and there is nothing I can do to fix this.

People are more than a patient, more than a kid on a bus, more than a butt in a pew - we are complex beings with a myriad of systems, body, mind and soul, working in unison.  If you think about it, it all makes sense - when an institution fails its often because they fail to look at things from a holistic point of view.

I don't know how to fix this for Lauren, but I will let this form and inform my response to people who have been hurt by the church.  The un-churched and de-churched are most often separated from the church because of a failure by the institution.  We need to honor this with thoughtful conversations, prayer and yes - repentance.   It may not fix things right away, but it will put us on a journey toward health and wholeness, and isn't that what we ultimately all desire?

I hope that the folks representing the UMC in Tampa will get this point as well.   The events of the past two days are doing even more to undermine the level of trust that many have in the General Conference.  With guaranteed appointments out the window but the tenure of lifetime Bishops secure and with Plan UMC set to be hotly debated later this week GC is roaring down a path that is fraught with anxiety and fear.  I don't know how we are going to fix this.

in Christ, together,


  1. Deborah, my sister, this is poignant wisdom that every GC delegate and other leaders should hear. May I reprint this on UM Insight, um-insight.net? Thank you.

  2. I am honored, Cynthia. Yes. Thank you for giving voice to Lauren and others who are hurting.