This post is based on the sixth chapter of Mad Church Disease. There are both previous
and later blog posts for this blog group book discussion.
This is a hard chapter to blog about. The previous chapters are primarily describing the issues with us as people and the church as an institution that lead to burnout and stress. We can blog about whether Anne has correctly identified the issues or whether she missed something that is relevant to our case. Or why we are different and our burnout is not the same as everyone else’s burnout.
But this chapter is different. Now she is moving toward solutions. I am tempted to not say much more and just ask people to start listing changes that they are going to make, but that is a bit of a copout and I think many people are not ready. (I have read this book twice now and I am just starting to move in that direction.)
I also don’t want to just summarize the chapter, although there are some really good things in there. Instead I am going to focus on one point right at the end.
The basic points are:
1) Admit that we have responsibility for our situation. Even if we have been mistreated or abused our reactions are our own.
2) Change your purpose to the greatest commandment – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.
3) Make a plan to change. Intentions will not change us, it requires a plan.
4) Create boundaries (this means learning to say no, or at least not now.)
Point five is often the hardest. But without it the rest will not happen.
5) Find accountability. Without five will not make changes when things get hard. We will end up back in the same boat, maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, but not changed.
Too often we think that with God’s help we can do it alone. This may be the greatest sin of the American church. God did not create us to be alone. Genesis 1 was not just about marriage, God created us to be social people. Even the biggest introvert wants to be known and loved. So we seek out friends, but hide from them at the same time. However, we are not going to change, to make our lives better, to serve the Lord more effectively, to be a better spouse or parent, unless we admit that we cannot do it on our own and seek out someone that we can be honest with and that we give the authority to hold us accountable.
Personally, I am still seeking. My excuses in the past have been lame (I just moved, I am stuck at home all the time, I need to put on a good show for my unsaved friends, etc.). I am going to make real effort both in prayer and relationally to seek out some accountability. It is the only way.
(Note: I received this book free from the publisher through a give away program. I received both a digital copy after I purchased a physical copy. I gave away the physical copy and kept the digital copy.)