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September 1, 2008 - 
I pray that I was never the reason why someone didn’t want to go to church.

Had the Title of this article been coined 3,000 years ago, I’ll bet the biblical prophets would have been tempted to use it. Preaching gloom and doom doesn’t make one real well liked. As a good friend of mine once put it, “When you point out the shortcomings of others, don’t expect to get warm fuzzies in return.”

As a lifelong member of the Christian Reformed Church and a member of the shrinking blue-collar middle class, I have a unique perspective that the white-collar majority may not be able to see.

I was a traveling skilled tradesman for more than 30 years, working in factories and on construction sites. It was a rough atmosphere that I let affect me for far too long, instead of letting my light shine in it.

I have had so very many unchurched co-workers bitterly tell me that the reason they had no desire to become a Christian was because of Christians. Allow me to give some examples.

When working at a facility during Christmastime, it was common to be invited to join in a meal of goodies with people we didn’t know. It happened every place but one, a Christian publishing house. Don’t think my co-workers didn’t notice.

At a local Christian college my crew and I parked in unmarked parking spots as directed by our contact at the college. They were, apparently, spots favored by some of the professors too, who proceeded to take umbrage at us for taking “their spots.” Don’t think my co-workers didn’t comment on Christian friendliness.

Two unchurched co-workers from the same company told me they have no desire to attend church because of the un-Christlike behavior of their boss, a CRC deacon.

I’ve seen and heard of many more such instances.

Business owners, what example do you set for your employees? Do you provide livable wages, raises, and benefits to deserving employees? Or do you say there is no money to do so, all the while maintaining several residences, many vehicles, and a month’s worth of expensive vacations? Salespeople, do you keep the promise you initially made that was the key factor in making the sale?

Pastors, do you abstain from injecting healthy doses of guilt and shame in your sermon points? Do you speak out against the pride and arrogance of some of the wealthy, or are you afraid of insulting your church’s golden geese?

I do not mean to be so bold as to compare myself to the prophets. I have plenty of beams in my own eyes and plenty of regrets from my past. I pray that I was never the reason why someone didn’t want to go to church.

If this article causes just one person to look inward and change for the better, then my risk in writing it will have been worth it.  

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