Growing up in the church, more specifically the Pentecostal church, I have heard my fair share of sermons, sat in many pot luck dinners, attended classes, played drums and lead worship, preached, served in almost every way possible and even studied to become a pastor. Over the years, decades really, I came to learn one important thing: we are all trying to figure out life and make sense of Christ and the Bible. I mean really. I believe we do ourselves and others for that matter a dis-service when we put on an act of being the one with all the answers. The truth is, we all are in need of change along the way.
Now before I go any further let me be clear. I am in no way saying that leaders of others cannot do just that…lead them. Nor am I saying that we might as well throw our hands up, say hogwash, and go do whatever we want because God will love us the same. No. Although, I do believe the Bible teaches that God will always love, but to simply give no matter to His teaching or the leading of the Spirit would mean that the entire purpose, the whole point, the story of our faith would be completely missed! We are to be changed through faith in that Christ’s death and resurrection was and is the beginning of a relationship we now have with our creator. How awesome is that! However, I fear this charge we have to share the good news has overtaken American Christian society in ways that is counterintuitive. We have, it seems, forgotten the best part of the story. As a whole, we claim to know Christ and to be His followers and yet we get so caught up in being “saved”, being “the chosen” that we disregard others who do not claim the same things as we do or live differently than we think they should. We the saved, the forgiven…we judge and drive others from the message of Christ. Moreover it’s like we take pleasure in condemning and instead of loving others as Christ calls us to we boast of how hot hell is. It’s almost like we’re the pharisees of our time.
I work from home and its always quiet. Like too quiet. So I listen to podcasts all the time. One that I recently discovered is It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders from the NPR Network. Each Friday Sam does a Weekly Wrap where listeners from all over the world call in with one good thing that happened in their life. The first time I heard this montage of people sharing their good news and the host and his guests celebrating with them…I’m not gonna lie, I cried. Now, I’m not usually the crying type so when I bust out in tears at random it begs me to question why. So I sat down and asked myself what was happening to me lol. So what got me? What caused me to react like that? I honestly felt let down. It caused me to ask the question, why isn’t the church doing this? Or something like it? How could I feel so much joy for others I don’t even know? Feel so connected some how? What really gets me though is the irony of it all.
As followers of Christ we are to love others. Allow me to paraphrase John 13:34,35: Jesus says to love others as He loved us and by that love others will come to know God. Now don’t get me wrong. This. Is. HARD. In no way am I claiming that I love everyone the way Jesus does. I mean good lord, without grace my ass is doomed to hell. But to be honest, one reason I don’t attend church regularly anymore is because of the lack of love for others that seems to ooze from the doors and windows of most churches. Not all. Most. How is it “non-believers” on a “secular” podcast can show the love of Christ better than most churches?! I mean really!? It begs me to wonder if those in said churches, or more plainly the majority of christians in general, even know Jesus?! If they do, how could such lack of love for others, judgement, and condemnation come from them? How long will Christian culture in America last if in fact there is no love or no real relationship? Maybe theres another theory? Maybe most christians believe they’re doing their duty by simply attending church and giving money. After all, it makes sense to let those “called into ministry” to do the work right?
I’m not too sure why I think the way I do. Maybe I’m the one who is misguided and has it all wrong, or maybe I’m just wrong. Maybe I like to question way too much. Then again, maybe not. One thing is for sure. I believe church culture in our society needs a bit of reformation, but I have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. To hate the church would be to hate the bride of Christ (Eph 5:23). I Ain’t try’n to do that! On the contrary, I wish to shed light on matters that need attention and to help show the love that Jesus has. I’m tired of people seeing christians as unloving judgmental hypocrites. Which is why I ask: Does the church need to re-examine it’s self? What is church anyway? When did church become a building, or the seats, or the music and lights, or an order of service? Why does it seem our church culture is backwards, dated, and missing the mark? What will it take to realize we need to look more like Jesus and less like what we’ve been taught are whole lives. I believe we shouldn’t be afraid to question how and what we do in church. Test and prove what truth is. After all, church isn’t a building, people are church, screw the building. Let’s have some grace for crying out loud while we all figure out this life and discover how to live like Jesus in our era.
What do you think? Let us know.