I hate when people speak in generalizations, so I am trying not to say all here, but there is a majority that lives this way. Sometimes we are afraid to reveal the truth of who we are and sometimes we are afraid of the backlash of self-righteous people who will judge us for our sins while conveniently forgetting about their own.
Jesus spoke to this in the Matthew when he said: "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:5 ESV)
Some things we deal with are hard to reveal anywhere in life, not just the church however there are taboo topics that we are just too afraid to bring up. For example if someone was struggling as to why gay marriage was wrong, they may share their feelings like this: "I don't see why gay marriage is wrong, what's all the fuss?"
The response in the majority of strong, conservative churches would be: "How could you question that? I can't believe you would have an issue with this! God says so in the Bible it's wrong!"
The problem with such a response is that it shuts down dialogue and it shuts down the person asking the question. That person may never ask another question in church because of this response and they may struggle with things totally in secret from then on.
A better response to this question on gay marriage would be something like this: "It is a tough issue to deal with, especially with the whirl-wind surrounding this issue. What do you think the fuss is about?"
This then lends itself for the person to more fully explore what they're feeling and allows for discussion. Sure sometimes we may need to rebuke people for their false ideas, but we first need to love them enough to hear them out, not shut them down.
There are several issues like this that I will be discussing alongside my former student Tyler Walker. Tyler has been out of High School for two years now and has lived in a "Church Culture" all his life because his dad is a Pastor. He like me has seen within the Western church culture, issues and topics that have been shushed that never needed to be.
This is about no particular church, but rather the Western Church Culture as a whole. At ACAC where I am, we have been moving to authenticity in many ways and have been un-earthing several struggles many people felt they needed to hide for years and even decades. It is a glorious time to be a part of ACAC and I am proud of our church.
Ty and I will chat back and forth tomorrow about this issue of "Things You Can't Say in Church" at 4-5pm here: ACACThreads Blog Talk Radio. Some of the issues may be a bit intense and very deep rooted but I encourage you to tune in and call in if you desire to share your thoughts!
ACAC Student Ministries Pastor