Thursday, August 10, 2006

Confessions of a Church Addict

In some ways I feel like an addict. I like to define addiction as this: Exchanging control for the promise of reward. I feel like I did that with a situation called church. I think I gave it control over me in exchange for a reward, which came in the form of place, recognition, and a sense of power. I think this is why I like reading about gambling. [see luckiestone] Gambling is not my addiction, but because I know myself well enough, I know that it could be. I'm in the process of detoxing from my addiction to church. [Please note: this is NOT an attack against what we call church] I looked to it to provide me something it was never capable of giving. Just like the gambler looking to the dice to deliver, I wanted something back, but came up seven-out. I loved being in front of people, playing music, hearing my songs sung, getting feedback from folks about my teaching or leadership, but it became my reward. I had no other place to stand. I became a nobody. This is a hard one for people to get. It took my wife a couple of years to figure out why attending church on Sunday mornings would send me into a tailspin for the rest of the day. The addict needed his fix, and it was nowhere to be found. Many of my friends are well-meaning, trying to encourage me by saying that it was not in vain, that the LORD uses us in spite our motives, but it still doesn't change the fact that I gave something away to get something illegitimate, that I feel like a poser, like an addict.

4 comments:

knnuki said...

Hey Kev, It was clear to me in CO that you are decompressing/detoxing/working out the implications of your decisions about church. I didn't realize, I suppose, just where you were in that process. But I agree with your process and am convinced you're doing it well: it is marked by honesty, real emotion, passion and admission that you've not done everything right. Respect, dude. You're doing well even though it's not all fun. I'm with you.

Bryan Riley said...

I like the honesty. A heart revealed is rare indeed. Have you ever read Desiring God?

Watchman said...

bryan

yes. it has had a huge impact on my thinking. thanks for reading.

watchman

Bryan Riley said...

I recently did the book tag thing and noted that Desiring God is the "one book" that changed my life (because you couldn't choose the bible for any of the questions). I was talking with a retired pastor today and he confessed that in the first 20 years of his ministry he was completely a churchaholic and was not doing his work for God's glory; instead, it was for his own affirmation. He realized one day that it was no different than another man's alcoholism or any other addiction. Powerful and humbling realization.