The ever-hilarious Danny McBride has a new HBO show called The Righteous Gemstones in which he plays a prominent member of a “world-famous televangelist family with a long tradition of deviance, greed and charitable work.”
McBride recently appeared on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, and due to the nature of his new show, the topic of church was raised. I was surprised to learn McBride grew up going to church, but the story he told about his experience there was all too heartbreaking but not unfamiliar.
He told Dax he grew up going to a Baptist church and his parents were both really involved. His mom even did puppet ministry. And then life happened, and his family’s relationship with the church came to an unnecessary end:
We went hardcore. We were there all the time. My parents were so involved in it. And then my parents got divorced when I was in sixth grade and my dad kind of ran out on us. Suddenly, here’s my mom who works in a department store at the mall, she’s got two kids living in an apartment, and you’re thinking “maybe this church you donated all this time to will be supportive.” Instead, the people there turned their backs on her, shamed her for getting a divorce. I can remember seeing my mom and how much the church meant to her, and now she didn’t feel like she could enter the church.
He said his mom would take the kids back to church for a couple months after her husband left, but their relationship with the church ended altogether shortly thereafter. And while McBride didn’t exactly love going at the time, he did feel a bit of an emptiness when that it was all over.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence. All too often, the church is a place of shame and judgement when we are at our lowest points instead of a loving and supportive refuge in times of trouble.
In my life, I’ve experienced the good that church can offer, there’s no doubt. Meals delivered to the house, visits and prayers in times of need, the development of lifelong friendships to name a few.
But I’ve always witnessed my fair share of what McBride detailed above – shunning those who didn’t live up to expectations and a complete lack of love when it was needed the most.
No church is perfect because it’s made up of imperfect human beings.
But you can never, ever go wrong with love.