day 65…

The more  i think about “church” the more detached i feel. i guess that is not a good thing. but there exists such a dichotomy that i do not know if there ever can be an integration.

these are the issues for the average american evangelical church…

rabid patriotism, abortion, prayer/bible reading in school, homosexual agenda in general, gay marriage in particular, getting republicans elected to office (it doesn’t matter how corrupt they are if they espouse the next issue…), “family values”  (whatever that means), banning certain movies, books, music, television programs, making sure people say merry christmas (not the blasphemous happy holidays) and that nativity scenes are allowed on public property. theses are the “social concerns” of the redeemed. now let us look at church politics.

The things important in church are…

the right bible version, the right clothing worn, the right music sung (hymns or 1970’s choruses) and played on instruments that don’t invoke the demons of hell (read drums, and electric guitar). preaching holiness, righteousness, condemnation forgetting the amazing grace part (preaching grace makes people want to sin), preaching God’s wrath against the evil outsiders, constructing an us against them mentality. telling people that all they need is the bible and to read because all the answers to all your questions are in there, to use anything else is to be labeled a heretic or worse a L-I-B-E-RA-L ( so evil is this word that i needed to spell it rather than just typing it), but i digress. Here are a few more.  not associating with someone from a different denomination out of concern of polluting the holiness that exists in your particular denomination. Creating a church climate of cliques and closed groups of people unwilling let new people in. Creating a climate of fear and pretending so that no one really knows what your struggle is and how hurt you are because to be transparent is to put youself at risk of rejection and hatred (surprisingly christians can hate better than most non-christians). This last issue of having to pretend is most obscene to me since it drives people who struggle with lifelong problems far from the only place that supposedly promises unconditional acceptance, love, and grace. 

Now lets just take a look at issues in the world and see how these mesh with the aforementioned  issues…

worldwide poverty, worldwide starvation, exploitation of women, men and children into slavery, little children abducted and made to fight a war that is pointless, homelessness, HIV/AIDS decimating parts of the world, ethnic cleansing, war refugees by the hundreds of millions, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, the dehumanizing of women in may parts of the world….and there is more, there is sooooooooooooooooooo much more but i need to stop since my heart is truly hurting at this point. everywhere there is suffering, everywhere there is pain. where is the church? WHERE IS THE CHURCH?

Oh, they are over there……..see them? the group of smartly and modestly dressed individuals reading one of their many leather-bound bibles and complaining that there are not enough hymns this week in the air-conditioned service (although it is a bit too cool). They are also concerned that too many people get up during to service to go to the restroom, it is very distracting you know.

what the “f” is wrong with this picture?

12 thoughts on “day 65…

  1. The interaction with the outside world is too much of a reminder of what people truly are inside. Churched people can barely exist within their structure, let alone consider the possibility that literally billions of people are carrying out their days in a much different manner. Contact with the unclean makes it really hard to wear a suit on Sunday morning and pretend that you deserve your awaiting crown of righteousness. How many of those others have their name written in the golden book? They do not regularly attend. They do not give 10% (if anyone is asking) of their income (before taxes if you really do it right). They are not allowed to partake of communion. They have not been baptized. They do not know the words to the fourth verse of “Amazing Grace”. They are stuck in their unsaved ways. You are supposed to be in the world, not of it. At all. Meeting them at their level will not give you an opportunity to raise them up to heights they do not know even exist, it will just drag you down where you don’t belong. After being born again, after being saved, after “accepting Christ” (I still don’t really know what that means), all of that is not your problem anymore. I mean, you can still lecture them on their shortcomings and problems, identify sins and define their existence solely by them, remind them of their lost ways (even though less than 1% of adults who become Christians are introduced through TV, radio, and tracts). Developing personal relationships makes you vulnerable, which means you would actually have to really depend on God instead of your put-together world. But really, you should homeschool your kids because sending them to public schooling is the same as giving them a one way ticket straight to Hell.

  2. I have a feeling most Christians will be horrified that you ended that post with ” What the ‘F’ is wrong with this picture?”; but not even think twice about the horrors of poverty, starvation, slavery, etc… . The only thing worse than being sick, is being sick and thinking that you are healthy (and Godly)!

  3. I agree. I never understood why a Christian or someone who is being called by God is judged by his clothes (oh! your ONLY wearing t-shirt and jeans), education , personality (he’s loud and goofy so let’s not take him seriously), working class (he’s poor he can’t make decision) matter in Church. It doesn’t in heaven. Outside the small box guys’ everyone.

  4. Perhaps the problem is that we have minimized Christianity to what we do instead who we are. I do not believe that Christianity is about our actions, it is about who we are–our being. Our actions need to flow from our being not our being from our actions. We are still stuck in the working for our salvation mode.

  5. brother,
    I wish I could write so much more; to speak so much more with you than the times we have.

    I fear that the answer to your question is worse than the symptoms you describe. I fear that the answer is that the church is so much smaller than it thinks.

    How many people will cry “Lord, Lord?” (interesting isn’t it that they cry a term that acknowledges His rightful place), but yet He shall say “Away, I never knew you.”

    The answer I have found is that the church is scattered among “the church”, that just as in Luther’s day, the number of people who “get it” is small compared to the number who claim they do.

    Would I say they are unsaved? No, they probably are; but they are at best adolescent in their faith. That, my brother, is why you have been called by God as an elder. Because you are here to show the way to a whole gospel, lived out in truth AND spirit; in mature compassion and wisdom.

    Press on my brother. Press on. I love you and am so thankful for what He does in your heart and through you.

  6. How shocking…NOT…You are refreshing!!!!

    It hurts to look within so instead we focus ouur looks at others and hope no one notices the sin in us. Lord take the blinders off!!! Let us look more introspectly as you put it Mark. STOP the DEFOCUSING on others and as the WORD says “LET US EXAMINE OURSELVES.”

    Lynn Nagy (I noticed there is anaother Lynn on here posting)

  7. It is the church of Christ that has always fed the hungry and cared for the sick, the world takes the money of others to LOOK magnanimous in their “care ” of others.. BUT if we do not present the gospel doing all the “good” in the world will not help them.. they will die well fed and proceed straight to hell

    1. Tresa, just a comment or two here…
      You seem to assume to know the motives of those in the church and outside the church, thus setting yourself up a judge?
      Secondly, I am in no way adverse to presenting the gospel message of Jesus Christ to anyone. It is the only message that will bring true life, true forgiveness, true unconditional love, and the true freedom to become all that God has created a person to be. Reaching out in a practical way and ministering to a person’s physical or emotional, or psychological needs in no way minimizes the spiritual need for salvation. Rather it is the bridge building and relation building process to get to know that person and to extend unconditional love to them in the hope that they will come to Christ by our actions and our words.
      Peace to you….I pray to our Father in Heaven, for you to experience more of the fullness of joy and freedom and unconditional acceptance found only in Christ

  8. The motives of an unsaved heart are never anything but sinful to God. It does not matter what we think .

    Isa 64:6 — But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

    Rom 14:23 — And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.

    The end of all we do should be to glorify God, the unsaved have no desire or will to glorify God.

    1. While your comments are true, they are not all that there is…..

      Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

      Love your enemy….

      and it is not our place to judge those outside the church….leave that for God. We are to love.

      My prayer is that you are set free. Peace to you.

  9. My prayer is that you realize that no one can keep the law..including the law you just quoted

    1. Your prayer has been answered long before you prayed it. I absolutely understand that I cannot kep the law. I absolutely understand that i am a wretched sinner and if it were not for the grace and forgiveness of God found in Jesus Christ I would be bound for hell. I absolutely understand that I need to preach the gospel to myself every day because I can forget and try to live the Christian life inmy own power and how i fail miserably in doing so.

      So thank you for that prayer, thank you for caring enough to remind me that the whole Christian life is about Jesus Christ and not about me, what I think or what I do, it is about Him.

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