The church is struggling with a major PR problem.
She's lost her respect and significance in the world and in our local, public communities. She's racked with scandals of fraud, abuse, and cover-up. She's mocked on television. She looks like a complete bigot to outsiders. From within, she is embroiled in racism, misogyny, marginalization, and hatred. Our youth are growing up and saying, "No thanks." A whole movement of previously committed Christians are deconstructing. The "nones" are on the rise. Do we blame them?
Those who remain are hurting and struggling to see Christ in their lives. Instead of giving the world a beautiful picture of Christ's love for us, we manifest disillusionment and despair. The world we sing about on Sunday mornings and the world we live in are in complete disconnect. How did we get here? In our quest to be right, we have missed something big--the heart of the matter--that Christ is preparing the church, His Bride, for love. Theology without love is dead, and we are seeing the consequences of this throughout the evangelical church.
Having tread her own path of disillusionment, Aimee Byrd invites us to see Christ amidst the chaos. From the foundation of love, she teaches us how to face disillusionment in ways that strengthen our faith, how our own stories weave with the stories of our brothers and sisters, and how we hold them together as a testimony to where we've come, what we've been through, and the beauty Christ is inviting us into through them together. In this, we find freedom in belonging to Christ that rises above our disillusionment.
Along the way, Aimee guides us through thinking about how we can cultivate healthier forms of trust by recognizing power structures at work, understanding the limits of authority, freeing ourselves from tribes and celebrity culture, taking appropriate social risks, not putting false expectations on other people, saying no, speaking up when uncomfortable, naming red flags, seeking people who stay in the room and with whom we can create beauty together. This is when our scars become part of the artwork. Christ loves his church. We can hold fast to that. He is calling us to join him in bringing us to his love and not to fall for a counterfeit.