A reporter loses his faith

By covering the Church.

This is especially interesting to me because a reporter studying churches is the narrative in my forthcoming book. He goes from church to church to see what religion looks like. His marriage isn’t doing to well, he feels burned out with his faith. I don’t emphasize those parts of his character, but they are there and behind his questions when he meets with a pastor from the fictional community called the Upper Room.

William Lobdell did the church reporting for real and sadly he didn’t find what he was looking for. Because, frankly, the church wasn’t being the church. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He didn’t see that in his reporting. He didn’t see the Spirit.

Now, certainly, he’s not without his own responsibility. Emphasizing the darkness never is good for a battered soul and there are plenty of good things out there which can be seen. Yet, the scandals and mere failings of churches about so much it can be too easy for a reporter to find those. And where those are, there isn’t the Spirit, even if people use churchy terms, and religious language, and maybe even have miracles or good preaching.

“I don’t know you,” Jesus says to such people. Sadly, Mr. Lobdell sought Jesus among too many who say they know him, but really don’t at all.

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