So the other night I was thinking about the rape of ape's.... in the church. Rest assured, no animals are being harmed... but plenty of human beings are. For those of you not familiar with the 'APE' reference, it deals with a church structure principle based on the APEST model (see the link for an explanation). Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers. The first three - the A, P, and E - seem to be the most misunderstood, misaligned, and muted people in much of the church world today. Of course those are the three strongest traits/descriptions of yours truly. It also seems that most of my friends fall into one of those categories as well. I guess birds of a feather tend to fall together.
Anyway, I'm still uncertain as to how it all works and how much emphasis should be given such things, but I have to admit to its validity to a somewhat large degree. The trouble for/with APE's has also been well-documented over the past 10 years or so, so I won't go into a lot of detail. I did, however, want to try to write some thoughts down.
I also realize 'rape' is a loaded term and perhaps not the best way to describe what seems (to me) to be happening. I use the word in its mildest form. For many people, rape is trying to use someone for something they are not; devaluing them as a person; wanting them to be someone or something else. That is how I feel APE's are being treated in most, or many, church circles. People wonder why they/we can't just be happy, or why we have to say and do the things we say and do. But that is not who we are. We are not Shepherds. We have a hard time going with the flow. We don't fit the paradigm most people have of a "church leader." We are raw, honest to a fault, unsatisfied with the status quo, and many get frustrated by others wanting us to be someone/something else... much less having a hard time dealing with the lack of respect and value/contribution we can make to the church as a whole.
So, while it is in no way similar or, perhaps, as severe as sexual rape (which is a tragic thing, indeed), it can, in some ways, have a similar effect on us APE's. Undervalued, unwanted, misunderstood. And the church suffers as a result.
At least that's kinda how it seems to me. I long for the day when we can all work together - each of us being who we were made to be, and valuing one another for who they are and what they do.