Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Christian love

How does your church show love for the disabled? For the shut-ins? The non-believer?

Christian love is something that has been on mind for a while now. It is something that is missing from most churches I have visited over the years. If you have money, status and say the right words, you have all the love you will ever need. What about the single mom with no money? What about the prostitute who walks in off the street? The homeless man? They don’t have fancy clothes or the right words. Clean clothes are a luxury.

How do you greet this person Sunday morning? What do you do when the lady in fish net stockings and latex mini sits next to you in the church pew? Do you shake her hand and welcome her? Even if you say the right words of welcome and make the motions, what is going on in your head? After all,, the Bible teaches us that sin is a state of mind before it is an action.

What made me think about this today? Asthma. I think that the church doors should be open to everyone. Teachers should be there for the lost, the lonely and the sick. Not just the Pharisee who think they have everything together. Have you ever thought about the person sitting next to you in church that is coughing? Did you stop to think that your perfume or cologne may be making them sick? Maybe even the cigarette smell that clings to your skin and clothes?

Did you know that for those of us allergic to your perfume, church is a miserable place? It isn’t a place of learning, guidance and love. It is a miserable place where all focus is only on the next breath of air. Breathing during an asthma attack takes all of my focus. It is work to move air in and out of lungs that just don’t want to work right. Is it possible to listen to a sermon when all of your energy has to go into the next breath of life? Is eternal life the focus or surviving until the preacher shuts his mouth the focus?

Think about that the next time you put on perfume before going to church. Before you smoke that last cigarette before you walk in to take your seat. You never know who will be sitting next to you in church. Does your church leadership go out of their way to make every one feel welcome? The disabled? The homeless? The asthmatic?

My oldest daughter watches every Sunday as I struggle to breath. She is questioning what Christian love really means. She questions the existence of a God who would exclude her family. Everyone is welcome except asthmatics? Lets not offend someone wearing perfume. It doesn’t matter that mom had to go to the ER after church. Don’t step on any toes. Don’t make any waves. That is just one family. They don’t matter.

This is the message we have gotten at church after church. It breaks my heart. Is this the love that Jesus modeled for us? It feels like a loosing battle.

What will it take to start changing hearts? An ambulance? A lost life? Asthma kills. It isn’t a choice. It isn’t a preference. Think about that Sunday morning before you walk into your church.

Ps.  I am working with the leadership at our new chruch to find a solution.  So far we haven't made much progress but they are working with us.  They are trying.  We are trying.


  1. Little Missie - I understand what you are saying. I don't actually attend church because I haven't been able to deal with the hypocrisy of it.

    That said, make sure that when you are talking about how this affects you that you do it with love in your heart as well, being a Christian. You are upset, but be cautious to judge others. They may be the first to step up and help you if they knew how you felt. They just might not be aware that their perfume is that toxic for you. Some people who are smokers still don't think that if they smoke outside that the smoke carries on their clothes because they are so used to it.

    Don't get super angry, just help them see where they can reach out and help. No one is perfect. They just might be as far in the journey with God to have the awareness for others in situations like that that you do.

    The church could post an article in the bulletin and that pastor could bring it to the congregations attention to read it. It could describe some of the issues and ask that members please refrain from wearing perfumes. Smoking is ging to be a hard one for the really addicted.
    Have you tried wearing a mask? Could they video into a separate room where folks like you could go? Just throwing out ideas.

    Also, you have to remember that people might be using soaps or fabrics that some are allergic to. How far do you take it? Who's allergies win? Do you now turn away from the church those who where perfume? Where is their right to worship? You don't know that they aren't out there helping the homeless and how they would act if they sat by them just because they are wearing nice clothes. People don't want to be turned out for their nice stuff or lack of issues anymore than those want to be turned out for their not-so-nice stuff or issues. Lack of awareness doesn't mean they don't care necessarily.

    I'm just trying to help you see all sides. I don't want you so upset that you are now judging where you should not.

    I do feel for you though. I think it's a valid concern, just ensure you are taking the right approach. I know it's hard and I truly hope and will pray that God presents you with a solution that works for all.

    I mean all of this with the utmost respect.

  2. That's too bad... I remember my dad complaining a lot about older ladies at a previous church wearing too much perfume and making him feel sick. It seems to be a problem that could be addressed by a private visit or phone call from a leader. I really hope that gets taken care of for you.

  3. Cedeno, I already sit in an area outside the sanctuary. There are tables, chairs and a video screen so that I can watch the sermon. It makes it possible for us to attend but there are still those that make it difficult. My first approach to a new church is with love. A plea for help. If my post sounds a little bitter it is because we have been rebuffed numerous times. This is our 5th church in 2 years.

    My biggest problem at the new church is embarrassing people. They don‘t realize their perfume is a problem until I reach for my rescue inhaler and have to walk away. It hurts when I have to do that. It is something they have never even thought about and I have lost an opportunity to make a new friend.

    Ally, I just wonder how many people leave without ever saying anything?

  4. I know it's hard. Hmmmm, I'll really have to think on how you can change this. I just don't know that you'll ever find a church where there is that kind of awareness each and every week.

    Unless you start your own. Which you can do if you don't collect money or take any from the state. Ever just thought of maybe having your own outreach program that includes worship with an emphasis on those who are lost, ill or disabled? Maybe you can specialize in that kind of awareness that way. It's times like this and situations like this that cause new organizations to pop up. Why not you?

  5. I think it more about changing hearts. It is about people looking outside of themselves and at the world around them. Americans are generous and kind….. Sometimes. We just forget who Jesus ministered to. We don’t think about how our actions affect others. I am sewing seeds of hope for those with asthma and those who are different. Most of my seeds won’t grow but a few will. Are you using a watering can or Round-up?