Understandably, expectations are high when one joins a church for the first time. After all, those in the church are “saints of God—true believers-born again Christians” and the like.
That is not to say that conversion and church membership make no difference. It is simply to say that conversion and church membership is the beginning of a journey; a journey of spiritual growth and development. Some grow and develop more quickly than others.
But should not members of the church—those who profess to be followers of Jesus—be held to high standards? Of course. Our judgement, however, needs to be tempered by the understanding that the bandying about of religious phrases is not a true indication of fundamental character and personality change. “Sainthood takes time.” For some of us, it takes more time that it does for others.
Wilbur Rees is currently Pastor Emeritus at Shalom United Church of Christ in Richland.
Wilbur calls himself a “survivor.” Having weathered the first two and a half decades of a tumultuous life, he went on to complete his education and serve as pastor in four states. He has written numerous article for religious publications and, in addition to this book, is the author of “Three Dollars Worth of God”. He is now retired and lives with his wife in Washington State.