When I said God can use our "crap" to fertilize his garden, I didn't expect anyone to stretch the skubala metaphor quite as far as some did. Realizing our human limitations should not be an excuse to mistreat others or justify bad behavior. Mercy and grace should always be aimed at positive, constructive goals.
When I said church life is messy, I wasn't referring to emotional pain caused by sin and suffering in our group-lives. Primarily, I just meant that folks who are uneducated in theology and untrained in church ministry are *going* to make some mistakes whenever they attempt to function in greater capacities, whether that means speaking in meetings or caring for others. Furthermore, since we're always supposed to be growing, there should be a fair amount of mistake making going on at all times.
No mistakes? You're probably not learning. No learning? You're probably not growing. No growth? You might not be alive.
My main point is that we need to embrace such imperfection, not avoid it. As I said recently, we are all defective robots. Pretending otherwise is internally destructive, and dealing with it more publicly is an opportunity for God to rip out more of our individualism.
For example: a church group experiments with an open microphone one day, and someone says something stupid that hurts someone else's feelings. That kind of honest mistake is something to learn through and improve upon, although several are bound to go home and say, "See, that's why you don't do that sort of thing." Don't do what? Allow people to expose their own thoughtlessness? Relationship fissures that don't get exposed, can't get worked on, and won't be improved.
We could post lots more examples. Anyway, I learned one thing above all else this week: putting the word "crap" in a post title sure does generate hits!