Over the centuries the Church has done enough to make any critical person want to leave it. Its history of violent crusades, pogroms, power struggles, oppression, excommunications, executions, manipulation of people and ideas, and constantly recurring divisions is there for everyone to see and be appalled by.
Can we believe that this is the same Church that carries in its center the Word of God and the sacraments of God’s healing love? Can we trust that in the midst of all its human brokenness the Church presents the broken body of Christ to the world as food for eternal life? Can we acknowledge that where sin is abundant grace is superabundant, and that where promises are broken over and again God’s promise stands unshaken? To believe is to answer yes to these questions.
“I understand the intellectual critique of the Church and of its ecclesiology. I get it. The problem is that the accusations and complaints do not correspond to my EXPERIENCE of “church” in the least. I go to church to be with Christ, for I am with Christ and know Christ through Bob, Pete, Rob, Thomas, John, Jerry, Kathy, Mary Lou, Celia, Christian, Michael, Mary Lyons, Nellie, Mike, Claire, Valeria, Tricia and all those brothers and sisters who are now my family in the body of Christ. My church family mediates an experience of Christ that I cannot get anywhere else in the universe, and no intellectual critique will ever change this fact.Moreover, the laws of nature are unaffected by the sins of your science teacher. Should your calculus professor commit a crime, satellites will not fall from the sky. Do not allow any scandal that occurs among the clergy, or anyone, anywhere, dissuade you from the truth that is carried in the womb of the Church.”