This post is my contribution to the Eighth Letter Project, which invites participants to compose letters to the North American Church in the spirit of John’s seven letters of Revelation. A selection of these letters will be presented at the Eighth Letter Conference October 1-2, 2010, in Toronto. There will also be a synchroblog (hosted by writer blogger Rachel Held Evans) for Christian writers to post their letters online September 12-18). For more details, visit the project website or follow @eighthletter on Twitter.

Dear North American Church,

I’m not fancy and I’m not someone who’s good at wooing people with words and sounding like I’m all smart and everything. I’m a simple person who lives a simple life with my family.
So I will keep this simple and refrain from a big, long letter that will glaze eyes over and inspire yawns from all of those who read.
My hope is that we can learn to love one and another and treat others the way we would like to be treated. I want to feel welcome when I come into your house – not looked at like I’m being sized up for what I am worth, or how much I will be able to contribute to your facility and congregation.
I want people to be friendly, but not overly excited and phony. I want everyone to feel welcome and want them to share in their love for Jesus Christ, knowing that they don’t have to worry about what others in your congregation think.
I want people to come to church knowing they have a shoulder to lean on when times are hard and a place to share joy with when times are worth celebrating.
I want to feel like I can walk out of fellowship and not have to worry about what people are saying about my skin color, weight, height, age, financial status, or soul mate when I’m gone from the room.
What I want most of all is for people to respect each other and not to ridicule or judge them for their beliefs or their perceived beliefs.
I want to feel like I’m going into God’s house, not a social banquet full of people who I need to justify my appearance to. I don’t want to have to explain my nationality or why I’m here and not at another facility for “my kind of people.”
I want you to love me and my family the way God does. If we can do this together, we will have the power to overcome our struggles and restraints, allowing us to experience the joy and love of mankind in the world that is Jesus Christ.
May God Bless us all!