The church is a dysfunctional family. There is no escaping some degree of drama. Drama and dysfunction are like bad weather. You can build houses and structures that keep the elements out, but the weather is still battering the house, and you yourself cannot always avoid it (e.g. like when you are coming home from the market in a downpour and you have to transport the groceries from the driveway to the house).

Church history is replete with inescapable drama and dysfunction. Joseph’s rocky relationship with his brothers; Miriam’s drama with Moses (Numbers 12); the meshuga dynamics between David and his father ‘n law, and his nephew (Joab [2 Samuel 18-20]), and his wife (Michal [2 Samuel 6:20-23]); Jesus calling Simon “The Rock” of the apostles “Satan!”; the abuse charges leveled against Paul by the church community in Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:1-4); Paul’s seditious statements against the hyper-conservative party of the circumcision (Galatians 2:12, 5:7-12; Colossians 4:11; Acts 15:39); Euodia and Syntyche; etc.!

What is to be done?

Imaginatively immerse yourself in the pressure-packed depths of Joseph’s story.

Painstakingly envisage the complex dynamics of David’s relationships.

Rigorously wrestle with what it would be like to receive Jesus’ letter to the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira, and thoroughly force yourself to troubleshoot the convoluted labyrinth of dealing with people in the church who hold to the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans and Jezebel and the deep things of Satan (i.e. hyper-“holy”-labeled religiosity & and stringent regulations of alleged “righteousness” [see Luke 12:1; Mark 7:1-13; John 8:44]), and who refuse to repent.

And as we navigate the fog of inexorable relational hassles and headaches, perhaps these two lines from Paul’s letters will provide us some assistance:

“As for you, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”