Throwing More God on a Fractured Foundation

Erik Cooper —  February 16, 2011 — 4 Comments

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know (let’s politely say) I’m on the lower end of the bell curve when it comes to fixing anything. If you’re a car, furnace, leaky roof, broken appliance, you’re out of luck.  I wont’ even attempt a Chris Martin and “try to fix you” (yeah, that’s bad).

(My greatest success story in fighting an “Ice Dam” that formed on our roof last week was simply not adding an additional consonant to the end of that second word).

My name is Erik, and I am constructionally challenged.

And sometimes I think the Church is, too.

We’re broken people. All of us. Some of our brokenness is more socially acceptable, but all of us are cracked. Flawed at the foundation. But our churches are usually more wired to build up, not root up. To look up, not necessarily dig under the surface.

Read another book. Complete another study. Build Christian friendships. Attend another service. Subscribe to more Christian podcasts. Listen to positive and encouraging Christian music. Ingest more God-information. Construct a bigger God-edifice and you’ll effectively swallow up those broken places.

These are all worthy and noble pursuits. Imperative pieces to our Christian journey. But thrown at a shattered foundation, I fear they’re just masking an impending disaster.

I know what some of you are saying. “Hey, our church has a 12 step program. We even have a small group for porn addicts. And a staff counselor for people having marital problems.” Great! Don’t quit.

But I’m not talking about the brokenness that’s easy to see. Compartmentalize. Separate into one of those “dysfunctional boxes” that allow us to express pity with a little side of self-righteousness.

I’m talking about you and me.

Self-reliance. Materialism. Insecurity. Control. Self-protections. Immaturity. Arrogance. Past rejection. Religious abuse. Things we believe about God that just aren’t true. (Do you want to keep brainstorming this list together?)

These are just a few of the “respectable” cracks and fissures we easily overlook, drowned under a deluge of God-knowledge and socially acceptable church-culture behavior. Yet underneath, these godly facades are fueled by depression, anxiety, doubt, and fear. Do any of those words describe you?

Broken foundations.

So what’s the answer?

I think we’ve got to commit to getting our hands dirty. We need each other. The beauty and risk of godly community is where we find the courage to identify and call our broken places. But these aren’t issues we can simply reason, talk, or will our way out of.

The ultimate remedy is repentance.

Repentance begins the Jesus journey. Allows Him to begin miraculously doing what only He can do. What He promised to do. Fix our cracked foundation. I don’ care how long you’ve been a Christian, it’s time for an assessment.

What if the Church became great at repenting? At rooting out as well as building up? What if we stopped ignoring the broken places? What if we found the courage to lovingly take them on? In ourselves? In one another?

We’re not doing this well. Not yet. But this is one area of construction I’m determined to become skilled at.

4 responses to Throwing More God on a Fractured Foundation

  1. Erik, this post hit home big time for me. There are so many of us that are hurt and broken down to the core of our being, and unless we let God into those dark places, it’s like pilling more onto the facade. Not to mention, the feelings of shame and doubt as to why we aren’t feeling better yet.

    I have to watch myself because I am an encourager. And, although I am not a good “fixer”, I have this people pleasing nature that wants to try. I am really trying to learn to simply validate people’s pain where they are at, and not just pile more cliches or verses or counseling techinques on top of thier heads, but to really listen to and validate thier pain. And then let them know that Jesus hears it, sees it, feels it, and wants to heal it. But it often isn’t able to be healed until we bring it into the light.

    Thank you for giving me a new way at looking at this. Amazing post. Such a blessing to read your writings.

    • I’m the same way Stephanie, and I fear sometimes I end up encouraging people to build more on their broken foundation. Confronting the dysfunction is messy and uncomfortable. Risky (it doesn’t always turn out well). It starts with me, though…finding the courage to confront it in myself. Remove the log from my eye so I can help others remove the speck from theirs. Appreciate your insights.

  2. BeAuTiFuL!

    I love the work you are doing!

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