Tell the Truth

I was in an airport. I was flying home. My plane was delayed. I was filled with stress and then an airline employee made this announcement over the intercom. "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are sorry for the inconvenience you have suffered in this wait. Due to weather problems, flight number 1506 will be delayed in departure for your destination. Our new departure time has been pushed back 20 minutes to 5:05 pm. We apologize for this delay and thank you for your patience. First, let me say that I hate when people thank me for my patience when I do not have any patience. I was irritated, and felt hostile towards the entire airline. I was grumpy and I wanted to get home.  I withheld voicing these feelings because I did not want to show up on some reality show having a meltdown at the reservation desk. Secondly, it is bad enough to subject travelers to delays on the last leg of their flight home, but for God's sake, tell the truth about it. There was no possible way we would be taking off at 5:05. It was already 4:45 and the plane had not yet arrived at the gate. Passengers needed to deplane from the last trip, the cabin needed to be cleaned and resupplied, the flight crew was scheduled to change, and everyone in the waiting area needed to board. If we were lucky we would push back from the terminal by 5:30, not 5:05. Why can't the airline employees just tell just tell us the truth? Contrary to that famous line from A Few Good Men, we can handle the truth.

Churches are like the airlines. We don't tell the truth about things that might upset people. The last 2 churches I served were in 20-25 year declines before I arrived and yet no one said so out loud. When the beloved church member asked to sing special music during Sunday morning most in attendance told her it was great even though she, only occasionally hit pitch. The pastor, in desperate need of continuing education to improve her preaching shakes hands with parishioners at the door who say "good sermon preacher," and the sermon was really lame. We behave this way and say these things because we "don't want to hurt anyone's feelings."

We can never change what is wrong unless we begin to tell the truth about what is going on. What do you think? Are church people too nice?