I know that I was rushing.

I know I could have parked better.

I did have to navigate around an on-coming car.

AND, I was totally in the yellow lines. Perhaps, I was a teensy-weensy bit close to the car on my left.

BUT, I was far enough away that I could escape without as much as a scratch on his passenger side door.

When I came out of the store, this note was attached to my driver’s side window:

PhotoBooth | August 18, 2009

Now granted, I’m not saying my park-job was perfect. I’m not even saying that I didn’t deserve the reprimand; perhaps I did. However, the person wrote with a certain tone of voice, using an exclamation point. This person was frustrated with me and wanted me to know it…

On his church’s stationary.

I don’t know about you, but chances are that most of us would (hopefully) think twice before writing an angry note on church stationary and affixing it to someone’s car.

Right?

Honestly, I saw the note and laughed, but on the ride home I started to think about the implications of this note had it not been on my car.

What if I was…

someone who hated church?
an atheist or agnostic?
liked Christ but not his Christians?
spiritually on the fence with Jesus?
looking for a church?
dealing with a recent tragedy and not thinking straight?
parking poorly because my kids had a long day and were letting me know it?

What would a note like this tell me about your church and its members?

The stationary reads, “A church like you remember.”

I’m guessing whoever read this note would truly remember that this is in fact the church he remembers growing up that could have been irrelevant, the church that may have offered little grace to someone who doesn’t have it all together, or the church that cared more about the bad parking job than the reason behind it.

I realize that I’m not stereotyping a whole congregation on the grounds of one note. I need to deal with that in my attitude towards them.

We all have broken people, including ourselves, with baggage filling seats in our churches every week. We all have bad days and write poorly thought-out notes as a result of them. That is why the church exists, to be a safe-haven for the hurting and a place where we can grow together.

But if “they” is now “us” and if we attend and belong to a church family, we are now spokespeople for that church and everything for which it stands. We can’t do this sort of thing. Please, let’s not give Jesus and his church (and your local church) a bad reputation. Let’s work together to build the reputation of the Church.

Oh, and I’ll also try and work on my parking abilities.

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