Jim Woods Guest Post: Transparency: The Only Cure-All For Holier-Than-Thou-Itis

randomlychad  —  May 18, 2012 — 10 Comments

Note: This is a guest post by Jim Woods. He is a writer, musician and dreamer in Nashville, TN. His passion lies in helping others fulfill their dreams. You can read more of his posts on his personal blog, or follow him on Twitter @unknownjim.

Transparency: The Only Cure-All for Holier Than Thou-itis

I recently read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. As a result of the book, I began questioning my experience with corporate Christianity. I didn’t really know why, but I had feelings of pain inside.

It wasn’t until I visited my home church again that I discovered why I been feeling this way. In his sermon the pastor said,” Sin is unbecoming of a child of God. Whoever sins practices lawlessness and therefore he who sins tramples on Jesus.” The pastor repeated this statement several times, and at no point mentioned how this applied to himself.

This statement, combined with the tone in which it was delivered, came across as both arrogant and condescending. I firmly believe we are ALL sinners in desperate need of God’s grace, pastors included.

At some point, I started to think only pastors were capable of having a close connection with God. I had screwed up, and missed my chance for a close, authentic relationship with Him. In my mind, pastors have extensive knowledge of the Bible, pray for hours every day, and go to seminary. So of course they have a stronger bond with God.

I know this logic is flawed, but when you’ve been inundated with a tone of condescension, it becomes accepted. Even in a Bible-preaching Baptist church.

The truth is the person giving the sermon is in no way more “holy” or “worthy” than the rest of us. The pastor does not have a VIP Pass granting immediate access while everyone else waits for their number to be called. We all have our own VIP Pass, no one is a second class citizen!

God loves me despite what I’ve done. He doesn’t grade me based on how many hours I’ve prayed or how much I have read my Bible. There is NOT a spiritual contest. God’s love is equal for ALL OF US.

How can we promote healing in relationships within the church?

Speak up. If someone offends you, let them know. But do so in a loving, patient, kind manner. This is probably not the best thing to email about. Make it a phone call or even meet face-to-face.

Talk about real life. Not a conceptual, theological discussions filled with hard to understand terminology and ancient jargon.

Break down barriers. Do what Jesus did. Follow His example.

Tone is important. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself with humility. The more humble and honest the we are, the better.

Take individual responsibility. Do not shift the blame solely to someone else. Take responsibility for your own actions.

Thank-you, Jim, for sharing with us today!

How about you? How have you confronted difficult areas like this in your life?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • Ricky Anderson

    Good stuff, Jim. I really like the ‘take individual responsibility’ one. That goes a long way.

  • Yay Jim! Love this post. Thanks for your honesty. I think this is something the church struggles with: being honest. I get really turned off when pastors act all holier than thou. I love your thoughts on being honest with people, and owning up to our own stuff. What a great place to start.

    I also get turned off when worship leaders seem like they’ve “got it all together,” like their life is just one big worship fest.I know that in my experience in worship leading, there have been many instances where I’ve been exhausted and the last place I wanted to be was on stage, leading people. So instead of putting on the fake smile and acting like all was well, I was honest with the congregation. I told them I was tired and not really feeling it, but that I was there and was going to worship anyway. And I think they appreciated it. The energy from the room was contagious, and by the end, I was feeling much better. And my pastor (who is NOT one of those holier than thou preachers) came up to me and said, “Thank you for serving even when you don’t feel like it.”

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Jamie. Having it “all together” is the biggest myth or lie in the world. That takes guts to be that honest as a worship leader! AWESOME! You were/are doing something right!!!!!

  • Great post Jim!

    I confront difficult situations by speaking up and letting them know things aren’t right. I do my best to do it in love but I know I often fall short in that area. In many ways, I fail the same way that the church has when confronting issues that come from the church…

    • Thanks so much Joe! I really appreciate it! That is honest and understandable as we are ALL sinners who mess up all the time.

  • Great article! I totally agree -- your points have been things I have done to get through difficult and painful situations.

    • Thanks so much Cindy. So glad you were able to move past those painful and difficult situations!

  • I have, but that certainly doesn’t seem to be the norm. Gossip, talking behind someone’s back and destroying people happen way too often.

    • Yeah it’s easier to let it build up and become toxic than it is to take care of the situation isn’t it! Thanks for commenting Larry!

  • Jim, thanks very much for sharing a wonderful post with us. I’m very happy to have made your acquaintance via the Internet. Blessings.