More Big Pink Elephants

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The last two posts dealt with depression.   I was encouraged by the comments and their quality.  For the last two days, I have received and have tried to respond to numerous e-mails in which people shared their personal experiences with depression.  Many, many people have experienced this in some form.

Not long ago, I posted about "the big pink elephant in the middle of the room."  These are the big obvious issues that are very real.  Yet, many of us choose to ignore them.   So what are they?  (Just a sample)

 

Depression–It is sad when our way of dealing with this "pink elephant" is to either stigmatize it ("You know she has real problems, don’t you") or trivialize it (Shake it off!  Have a better attitude, blah, blah,…).

 

Alcohol abuse–Families go on for years with some people knowing the secret and others completely in the dark.  Yet, I think about what children witness and what they must conclude when it is virtually ignored.

 

Divorce–People who have experienced divorce need lots of mercy.  So many people find themselves divorced who never dreamed they would experience this. Yet, far too many married people pursue divorces in hopes of finally attaining "happiness."  Dad ditches mom for the woman in the short skirt who happens to be fifteen years younger.  Mom ditches dad because she is bored and really didn’t get to date around earlier because they married at a young age.  Meanwhile,  children are hurt.  I’m not just talking about little children.  This can severely impact children who are high school age and college students.  Adult children.  Yet, so often we rationalize our decisions: "The kids will be OK."

 

Sexual addiction–As I heard in a fine message recently, what we are seeing in our culture is a reflection of what men are honoring.  So strippers, porn stars, etc. are now "mainstream."  On any given night, you might turn on your television and see a porn star being interviewed as a "celebrity."  Meanwhile, millions are huddled around their computers looking at porn site after porn site.  Once you start down this road, the appetite for more only increases.   

 

Social segregation–This unfortunately takes place far too often.  Unfortunately, it takes place in far too many churches.  A church may publicly affirm social and racial diversity.  Yet, on a social level, some may choose to spend all of their time with people just like themselves.  For example, as some families experience more and more income (and with that, the ability to buy larger and more expensive" toys"), some may limit their friendships to those who have a similar income.  Or, some may affirm the importance of having a good racial mix at church but is that making a difference in friendships?

 

What other "pink elephants" are standing in the middle of the room?  No doubt there are more.  Those I listed above are just a sample.  What would you include along with these?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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16 thoughts on “More Big Pink Elephants

  1. Thanks as always for another great post. I struggle with watching the social segregation at our church. At dinners I will often suggest that we not sit with our usual group of friends, which includes both pastors. What I am really hoping to do is force them to sit with someone new. We are Methodists, so dinners are fairly frequent 🙂

    – Dave

    FYI: There is a word or two missing from this sentence in the second to last paragraph: “A church may publicly social and racial diversity.”

  2. Another good post.

    I would add “materialism” to the list.It is so pervasive in our culture that often we don’t even realize we’re in its grip.

  3. Jim,

    Another pink elephant is loneliness. A recent survey indicates that a quarter of US citizens claim they have no one with whom to share their personal problems. Our society continues to fragment, leaving more and more people isolated, with large numbers of folks who claim that they are not part of any family or social group. see http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/74647403.html

    And, my sense is that there are many who take their place on a church pew every week, but who would never think of being transparent within the group. Many have been burned by gossip and harsh judgments and have concluded that church is essential but not safe. Casting Crowns captures the essence of this pink elephant in their album Lifesong and the song Stained-Glass Masquerade. I close with a few lines from that song . . .

    “Are we happy plastic people
    Under shiny plastic steeples
    With walls around our weakness
    And smiles to hide our pain

    The performance is convincing
    And we know every line by heart
    Only when no one is watching
    Can we really fall apart”

    Ben Overby

  4. I agree with lonliness being a sad problem. I worry about the college kids away from their families, elderly widows, widowers who need someone to just listen to them, anyone who feels lonely even in a large group of people. With God’s help, medication and counselling will help depression but God calls us to help the lonely. I see them come into our clinic just to talk to someone.

  5. I enjoy reading your posts & the comments. I love that whole Casting Crowns CD, especially Stained-Glass Masquerade. They aren’t afraid to bring up tough stuff. I would like to add that another “pink elepant” is promiscuity and premarital sex. My friends and I often wonder how it might transform our younger brothers’ and sisters’ lives to share our own struggles, post-sin feelings, and to hear how our elders dealt with it. Would this be inappropriate in the church? Surely older people struggled, too! Equipping the youth/unmarried with more of an explanation than “just don’t do it” might help them win their own battles.

  6. Jim, A big pink elephant I work with often is domestic violence. I never cease to be amazed at the severity of this problem in christian homes. So many people don’t realize that violence is not normal or that they live in it, until someone gets killed.

  7. Jim,
    Yes. We need to have the heart (sensitivity) and eyes to see not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly- first in our own lives. And deal with it- immediately and over time.

    Good challenge here. I especially appreciated your words on social segregation, though the rest is good as well.

  8. Ben,
    Thank you for your comment. I am glad you mentioned loneliness. You are so right about being having been burnt by gossip and harsh judgements. As you say many come to the conclusion that church is essential but not safe.

    That in itself may be another “big pink elephant.”

  9. Dave,
    Thanks for your comment. I think that social segregation is a real problem in a lot of churches.

    Thanks also for telling me about the missing words. I need all the help that I can get.

  10. Rebekah,

    Thanks for your great comment. You make a great point about sexual temptation, sexual struggle, and sexual sin. And–you are so right. There must be something more we can say than “just don’t do it.” How is that phrase distinctively Christian.

    You are the second person to mention “Stained Glass Masquerade” so I downloaded it onto my IPod. I look forward to hearing it soon.

  11. I think the materialism and the *never* discussed reality of Christian monetary stewardship are issues I see in Western Churches.
    As soon as someone mentions tithing the battle lines are drawn. Yet generosity vs income is woefully small in most churches, and the elephant sits there, but no one mutters a word. (Particularly not the paid staff for fear of looking money hungry).