Listen to what Miller is describing here. If you’ve lived in ANY sort of community (you high school, college, dorm, office, military unit, and of course church).
The real issue in the Christian community was that it was conditional. You were loved, but if you had questions, questions about whether the Bible was true or whether America was a good country or whether last weeks’s sermon was good, you were not so loved. You were loved in word, but there was, without question, a social commodity that was being withheld from you until you shaped up. By toeing the party line you earned social dollars; by being yourself you did not. If you wanted to be valued, you became a clone. These are broad generalizations, and they are unfair, but this is what I was thinking at the time.
The problem with Christian community was that we had ethics, we had rules and laws and principles to judge each other against. There was love in Christian community, but it was conditional love. Sure, we called in unconditional, but it wasn’t.
-Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, p. 214
We shouldn’t be surprised that this happens. If you’re often on the “reject” side of things, this is all very apparent and painful. But if you’re on the successful side of things – well liked, with social capital – then chances are you’ve done your share of shunning to get there, even if you don’t realize it. You might actually be quite nice, AND in with the right people, but unless you actively are pushing against the sinful nature to do this to each other, then you end up feeding the system. I’ve been on both sides, depending on the context. That this happens in church is offensive to the spirit of love, to the spirit of Christ. Bummer. Push against it.