Tuesday, April 24

Why AA might be more effective than church...

In church, you walk through the doors with fear that you may not fit in, may not add up, may not blend in with the crowd.

In AA, you walk through the doors knowing you're in need of help, knowing you are in a state of total desperation, knowing you don't give a hoot what people think because they are just. like. you.

In church, you struggle with knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Some things just might be too inappropriate.

In AA, you really don't give a crap how it sounds because, well, it's where you are right now and where you've been and you need people to hear it. You're fed up with secrets and know there's no other way to healing.

In church, you worry about what to wear, what she's wearing and if it's appropriate enough for this new group.

In AA, you could walk in with torn jeans, a dirty, old t-shirt, a scruffy beard, dirty nails and smelling of smoke. Maybe even weed. But hey, it's nothing compared to how bad you feel on the inside.

In church, you worry you won't be good enough. In AA, you already know you're not. In church, you fear that you're beyond saving, far worse than anyone around you. In AA, you already know you're worse. In church, there are insecurities, fears, and worries about who you are, how you'll fit in, if you'll agree with it all, and if you have what it takes to be saved and believe. In AA, your insecurities and fears and worries still exist, but rather, they are met here. They are met by people just like you, struggling with the same things, and totally and 100% honest with those things.

In AA you are greeted and welcomed with the open arms of other people in the same lousy boat as you are. You are met where you are by other people who have been, were already there and accept all of your BS excuses, worries, and fears. In AA you know who you are--a sinner--and you come to a place where you're meeting with other sinners, seeking a whole lotta help. And that help becomes and is Jesus.

Of course, these are all some broad generalizations. I've never had to walk into an AA meeting or building, I just know people that have. I have, however, walked into a church and found people who were struggling, too, and met me where I was, and walked with me through the junk. But, in the midst of deaths, tragedies, hurts and heartaches, I'm noticing that the view of church--as a generalization--is that they are filled with people who judge, throw stones and criticize.

Come on now, people. When Jesus walked this earth, how many times did he sit in a church pew and sing hymns, memorize verses, look the right way, talk to the right people, associate with only the rich, look the other way at distress and conflict, and on and on?

Or how many times did Jesus walk with the most broken and the dirtiest? In fact, if Jesus were walkin' around today, do you think he'd go into the church and praise their good deeds, or would he walk into the AA building with the smokers and drinkers, cussers and losers, in the midst of their pain in addiction or in the loss of a friend, to tell them that they are loved? I’m sure he’d have a good message for both groups, but I bet his heart would ache and rest with those who actually recognize their need for him.

To those of you who don't feel good enough, to those of you who are "different" from the rest, you are not; you are just like everyone on the planet, in search of love and kindness. To the people who just can't believe because of the hypocrisy you've seen, push aside the people and the politics and search your heart instead. There is a God who is seeking that heart, too, and He'll meet you there. To the democrats and republicans, to the straight and to the gay, to the perfect and the imperfect, to the believers and the non-believers, to the right and to the left, to the whole and the broken, who cares? Jesus didn't. Jesus doesn't. You're a child of God, in every place, in every day you are a child of God. And you are loved, held, safe, wanted.

It's time that we quit judging others, holding some to standards and rejecting others, and believing that we have the power to say who is good and who is bad, who is right and who is wrong. It's time to discover that we are each powerfully, wholly, completely and unconditionally loved. I think you'll find that that is all you're really wanting anyway, right?

The Most Important Command
34-36When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?"
37-40Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

“Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.”
John Lennon


  1. Dear Daughter-in-Law,
    You are comparing apples and oranges.If you count "effecive" as being tolerant of sin, then yes, you have a point and AA wins. If "effective means" a life change and eternal salvation, the the Church wins.
    I just had this discussion on Sunday with a man who ended up in the ER after DUI. He was rejected by AA once he mentioned Jesus.

    I find that appearance and ideals are rejected by people of all stripes at times, but when the grungies reject the well-groomed, it doesn't garner near the attention as when it goes the other way.

    I have much experince with the AA crowd and find their philosophy inherently flawed, so I never say anything good about them. Christians may not always be doing everything right, but we are the only ones with the right message.
    Keep thinking and writing! Love, Bill

  2. Well, I absolutely know there is truth that both organizations are flawed, because all people are flawed. My dad came to know Jesus because of and through AA, while my brother doesn't want to know Jesus because of the church. I'm sure you can understand my heartache behind this post. And only those of us who know Jesus--truly know Him--can say that we have the right message because we know His love and His truth. But I'm finding that telling people who don't know him that they are wrong is causing both sides to stumble. If we love people first and forget about the right and wrong, God will take care of the rest. We love and guide the hearts of people, and He does the work on those hearts. He never commanded us to crack the whip and condemn, just to love.

    Thanks for your thoughts, it's been a while.

    1. I have much to say about this, but I am such a slow typist that it is best said in person. Let's take time to discuss it this weekend. :)

  3. I agree with both sides of this argument. When Lee first started in AA and the kids were little, I about had a coronary regarding some of the things he told me about what he could and could not do within AA. Whether he was being truthful with me or was just making excuses for what he did or did not want to do, i don't know. Now looking at Lee and a few others I have known, AA serves a very valuable place with people who chose to use it for good, not bad. The chances I have seen in Lee because of AA and God are amazing, and I would know best about this, so I have to say good things about AA because of him. I don't say they are right for everyone and about everything, but the organization has done something right for many, many people. I love what you wrote here...

    1. Thanks, Momma. :) I'm happy to know we've both seen those changes, and I'm especially glad to see the relationship I have with my dad now. Love you

  4. My boyfriend loves Jesus like no one else I know. This man gets it- he loves people and he loves Jesus. He is also 2 years sober, thanks to the people and program he worked in AA. There are definitely aspects of AA that aren't perfect, but there are also many aspects of the church that are flawed.

    thanks for writing this.

    1. Leilani,
      I'm so glad to hear this. My dad suffered with alcoholism for the better part of his life. I think the idea here is that all of us find Jesus in different, extraordinary ways, some people just find a distorted idea of Jesus. My husband knew God for a long time, but didn't know Jesus-the man who came to free and save us. I meet more and more people who come from broken, addicted, abused lives, and know Jesus more than many church-goers. We've got to find Jesus, no matter how, we just have to really know Him.

      You're very welcome, thanks for sharing your story.