Trashing the Bride

by Kirsten Patterson

March 10, 2021


She had her arms up around her head, shielding her face. A teenager, angsty, probably with a bad attitude a lot of the time, but now she was experiencing the frustration of two of her “friends” yelling and hitting at her. It was on a pier at the beach, it seems like it was evening, but I can’t remember who I was with, only that I was walking by, headed toward land, toward solid ground. It’s one of those hazy memories where details don’t materialize, only emotions . . . fear, shock, indecision, embarrassment. There they were, two teens targeting a girl in public, and none of us did anything. It wasn’t our problem. We veered away, kept walking.

I’ve had a hard time this year, like many of you. I read things and feel superior. I go out in public and get angry about what people are and are not doing. I hear things and see things from “my” people, representing “my” church and I snarl. Do you feel that rising up in you sometimes?

And I find that it’s really easy for me to say mean things about “the church.” How we should or shouldn’t be doing this, that or the other thing. How the church doesn’t care. How the church is made up of inconsiderate jerks, lacks compassion, right values, etc.

Let’s be honest, in my words and conversations over the years, I’ve trashed the church. In an unrelated conversation and just in passing, Jenni Key made this remark to me—“It’s not okay to talk badly about the Bride of Christ.”


It puts a whole new face on it when I see “the church” as the bruised and battered Bride of Christ. She may not be a pretty thing to look at, and she may have a bad attitude on her at times, but she’s treasured and loved. And I’ve stood by and watched people yell and hit at her, and I’ve added a few insults of my own.

The illogic of that picture is that I’m that bride of Christ too . . . together with you. I’ve been insulting myself, I’ve cut off my nose to spite my face. I’ve cut off our nose to spite our face. Maybe you have, too.

And I need to stop.

It’s not okay to trash the Bride of Christ.

Kirsten and her husband Chris have been riding out the pandemic with kids, Ava and Ellis, and Zoe (the sloth dog) — working, schooling, growing and caterwauling from home.