Gather, Grow & Give

In my public speaking I am often asked why, after being ostracized by the evangelical church, I still believe in the church. I never mind answering the question.


I usually begin by talking about the three desert religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and their beginnings as religions of scarcity. Without enough resources to go around, every tribe had to take care of its own. Unfortunately, in their fundamentalist forms, all three remain religions of scarcity, believing there is not enough of God’s love to go around.


As the sociobiologist E. O. Wilson so clearly warns, humans have evolved to believe an enemy is necessary for their tribe to survive, and where no enemy exists, they create one. Among evangelical Christians, the created enemies have been the LGB population and those who support a woman’s right to choose. Since marriage equality became the law of the land, they shifted their attention to the transgender community, hence the 17 bills passed and 168 currently pending that take away the civil rights of transgender adolescents, one of the most at-risk groups in the nation.


In one recent speaking event a person asked, “With so much public animosity toward transgender people, wouldn’t you see religion as a problem to be solved rather than a solution to be endorsed?” I answered that if you were only referring to evangelicalism, my answer would be yes. But just like every other institution on earth, there are good apples and bad apples, those focused on reconciliation and those focused on destruction, and plenty of folks in between. When all is said and done, however, I still believe religion is a positive force in society.


Religious institutions are the only ones designed to help us figure out how to do life together. Governments serve the citizenry. Corporations create profits for shareholders. Educational institutions impart knowledge. But only religious institutions have the primary purpose of helping us learn how to be human together. If you expect the church not to be a mess, you are not considering one of the major purposes of the church. There will always be messiness in any endeavor teaching us how to be human together.


Religion also exists to help us search for life’s meaning. We are an inherently spiritual species, and we have always best worked out our spirituality in community. In fact, that is how we moved from being a species focused on blood kin to a species focused on community. We did not take off as a species until we developed tribes, and we did not develop tribes until we joined together in a search for meaning. Our communal search for meaning catapulted our species forward. At that basic level, religion has always been a good thing.


I also believe religious institutions are uniquely situated to do good work for the people of their communities. For decades, churches wanted to be the best church in their towns. Now, at least some churches have a healthier mantra, they want to be the best church for their towns. After 9/11, the organization of which I was the CEO quickly directed over one million dollars in disaster relief to meet immediate needs of those who lost family members, jobs, and property in the terrorist attack. How did we do that so rapidly? We granted the money through local churches. Local churches didn’t have to wait for national organizations to tell them where the needs were, they already knew the needs of their neighbors.

I believe Left Hand Church, and churches like Left Hand, can provide the same service today. We can be a church in which we search for life’s meaning together. We can figure out how to be human together, and we can learn in community to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves.


But we can only do this if you are an active part of our community. Without your involvement with your time, heart, and resources, we cannot become the church is calling us to be.


During November our pastors will be talking about why actively participating in our vibrant community, regularly attending Sunday services and financially contributing what you can at Left Hand Church is a good thing for you, your loved ones and the community we serve and are situated in. We are at our best when we are working together as a community, and for the Left Hand community to thrive, we need what you uniquely bring to our church.


For all of us, Covid was a time to reconsider what really matters in our lives. With whom do we want to spend our time? What is the best use of our resources? One of my own discoveries during this period was just how much I need to spend time with others on a similar journey. It is true – our search for meaning is best done in a spiritual community of like-minded people who want to do their best to love God, love their neighbors, and love themselves.


As we consider our commitments for the remainder of the year and for 2022, we hope you will join with us this to make Left Hand Church an integral part of your life. Specifically consider:

  • taking this survey by Wednesday, 11/10/21 to help us improve,
  • attending our weekly services in Left Hand Chapel every Sunday at 5pm MT,
  • joining us at one of our community events, and
  • setting up a recurring gift of any amount to help us budget and plan to make the most of our community’s resources in the new year.

We will all be better for it.

I believe Left Hand Church, and churches like Left Hand, can provide the same service today.
We can be a church in which we search for life’s meaning together. We can figure out how to be
human together, and we can learn in community to love God, love our neighbors, and love
ourselves.
But we can only do this if you are an active part of our community. Without your involvement
with your time, heart, and resources, we cannot become the church is calling us to be.
During November our pastors will be talking about why becoming a regular attender and
ongoing donor at Left Hand Church is a good thing for you and your loved ones. We are at our
best when we are working together as a community, and for the Left Hand community to thrive,
we need what you uniquely bring to our church.
For all of us, Covid was a time to reconsider what really matters in our lives. With whom do we
want to spend our time? What is the best use of our resources? One of my own discoveries
during this period was just how much I need to spend time with others on a similar journey. It is
true – our search for meaning is best done in a spiritual community of like-minded people who
want to do their best to love God, love their neighbors, and love themselves.
As we consider our commitments for the remainder of the year and for 2022, we hope you will
join with us this to make Left Hand Church an integral part of your life. We will all be better for
it.