This is a quick “vent” post. I’ve already blogged extensively on welcoming people into the church, the idea of fellowship, problems with cliquishness in the church, and the like. See the category to the right side: Christian fellowship/church life.
Churches (and the small groups within them) can be terribly cliquey, where it can be hard to assimilate, unless you happen to meet the characteristic of the clique. Many can share frustrating stories of isolation, and an inability to assimilate despite trying (very hard) to do so and jumping through hoops. But I don’t want to rehash former posts. Rather, this is what I’ve been thinking about lately…
Over the years, I have observed churches receive suggestions for improvement on a variety of issues. Certain people out there are just complainers, and I am not talking about them, but more legitimately presented concerns. I’ve seen concerns taken seriously, and efforts made to address or correct the problems.
BUT NOT concerns about unfriendliness, cliquishness, etc!
My experience personally, observationally, and by listening to others is that this type of concern is almost always responded to defensively.
“How dare you make such an accusation! We ARE a friendly group!”
The person or family who brought the concern is immediately blamed. They did not try hard enough. They did not do what they were supposed to do. Even if they actually did try hard and jumped through all the hoops – that is ignored – and other blame placed. They are described as demanding and self-centered, or as having an entitlement mentality. “The church isn’t all about you, ya know!” These things may be directly or indirectly communicated.
To give one example, years ago when a family expressed concern about the cliquishness of a church, a leader quoted Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) to them: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” In other words, they were not friendly and it was their fault – not the church’s fault.
Just rambling and thinking out loud…Why can other concerns often be accepted with minimal defensiveness, and changes made…but not this one??
Why such terrible offense, indignation, and blaming when the concern is unfriendliness??
Maybe I’ll delete this post later. But just felt “the need” to share it for now.
*** There was so much interest that I did not delete it, and continuing thoughts are shared in another post.