Monday, May 20, 2013

If this post pisses you off enough to do your own research, I count that as a win.

I love Jesus.  I don't mean the dude with the neck tattoo working at the taco stand but THE Jesus.  I have a lot of friends who are non-believers so I'm not one to tell them what they're doing "wrong" everyday.  We have Christians* for that.  You know?  Christians?  Those people who spend an hour at church every Sunday and also work in the nursery?  The ones who know absolutely EVERYTHING there is to know about God...including what He's thinking and feeling at all times.  They are very quick to let you know that God is most definitely not a Democrat and by NO MEANS liberal in any way at all.  They know you should go to church.  They know how often you should go to church.  They even know exactly how much money you should give the church. As a matter of fact, if you have a friend like this there's no reason to read the Bible for yourself as they are more than willing to give you their favorite parts as a way to live YOUR life.  (*not all Christians are psycho...just most of them)

Do I believe in God?
Oh yeah I do!  He's shown up for me so many times I couldn't even begin to list them.

Do I believe in church?
No.  I don't.
--Ok, I don't think the following rant applies to the 100 year old church on the corner with 22 members (for whatever good that is doing) so let me try again.--
Do I believe in church? 
I don't believe in Mega Church...or modern church if you will.

 I know "church" is mentioned in the Bible and that many people believe today's church is that very thing.  I do not.  Why?  I've seen church.  I've seen church from the inside and it's ugly.  Church is a business.  It's purpose, like any business, is to thrive.  It is meant to be profitable.  This is why the pastor (wearing the typical "hip pastor" uniform of ripped blue jeans and an untucked button-up shirt) stands on stage urging you all to bring someone with you next Sunday.  Someone from work or parents from your kid's school.  This man, telling us we are to go out and make a difference in the world and in the lives of those around us, probably 1) sends his kids to private christian school, 2) has a wife who does not work but has regular lunches for the women's ministry (while her Christian nanny and God-fearing housekeeper take care of her home), and 3) himself hangs out with other pastors all day.  So when he says "go out into the world" he really just means YOU and your family, not he and his.

The next week he is telling you to "up" your giving because the church needs a bigger building.  He'll tell you that God has given him a vision and that it's going to take all of you to make that vision a reality.  Doesn't anyone ever wonder why God only trusts His vision to the pastoral staff?  If it's God's vision why didn't we ALL wake up with it this morning?  After a really good sermon you all start to believe this is what God wants from you. A good pastor is a good salesman and while you are all digging in your purses trying to figure out a way to give another hundred dollars to your church, your pastor is off with his family on his second trip to Disney this year.

What is my purpose here?  To bring the church crashing to the ground?  Not exactly.  I DO believe that despite our own agendas in church today, God is actually able to get in there and change some lives but my wish is for people to start listening to God and not just their pastors.  Now, I don't think all pastors fall into the completely judgmental, stereotyping I have given here.  Some of them have a heart for Jesus and for people and even though I still may not agree with everything they are doing, I can appreciate that they are doing it with their hearts in the right place and for (what they believe to be) the right reasons. Does this make it OK?  Church for profit?  No.  I can only pray for those I believe to be misguided and hope those who disagree with me will offer the same courtesy.

If you really DO believe God is leading you to give a hundred dollars why not find someone to give it to?
Someone "unworthy".
The Atheist who just lost his job.
The stripper who's struggling through a divorce trying to raise 3 kids.
The unwed teen at your daughters high school.
The homosexual who is paying his own way through college.
The reason it's hard for us to help these people is because we honestly believe we are better than they are.  We believe we are living our lives the "right" way therefore they deserve their situation.  My prayer is that you ask what God would have you do.  That's all.  Just ask Him.  He will make it very clear to you.

In the mean time, God told me that He wants you to give me a hundred dollars so email me and I'll send you my PayPal information.


Darren Sutton said...

Wow. This post doesn't offend me one single bit. As a pastor for over 20 years, I couldn't agree more that Christ-followers (usually different from 'Christians') should be in the world. And in one hot second I would love people to be giving their $100 to all the folks you listed. Faith in action is a beautiful thing.

It is disappointing to see the baby thrown out with the bath-water, though. If we say we love Jesus, then we must love the Church because she is the bride of Christ. And just like our own spouses, they might not always get it right, may hurt our feelings at times, don't wake up with sweet-smelling breath and good hair, or always encourage us the way we hope they will -- we still love them. It's a love that transcends their mistakes...and one that pushes us to make the other better.

My hope is that folks will find a body of believers that inspire them to make an eternal difference in the world because of the way they love....because according to Scripture, that's the only way anyone will ever truly know who we are or Who we trust & follow.

A Candied World said...

Thanks so much Darren Sutton. You and I have different opinions about what God's idea of "church" is but that's ok with me. I appreciate your frankness and mostly agree with you. Only "mostly" because my breath smells like cotton candy when I wake up and my hair is always perfect...even on windy days.

Anonymous said...

Here is some good news from "the church" side of things. When Stephen was hurt, we had 5 pastors show up to love on us. It seemed a bit lopsided when there were hurting people, worried about their love ones with no pastors there for them so I asked some of ours to pray with them. We received financial support from 5 churches that I know of and prayers from the world over. No kidding, I'm pretty sure there was not a continent without someone praying for that boy. That's what "the church" is about. Doing the work of Jesus. I'm so sorry you had to see the human side of it. There is no escaping that in this world. But I saw "the church" as it was supposed to be. In the ladies at Berean Church in Lincoln, NE that ministered to me; in the tone deaf pastor that led worship at Madonna on Sunday afternoons (trust me, everyone should hear his rendition of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee); to the sweet hispanic lady who prayed for my son in another language while he was in the same ICU as her son; in my beloved sister-in-law who, tho she is disenchanted with "the church" put the word out for prayer and felt the hurt maybe even more than my numb heart could. Sister, you are "the church" and I love you beyond words. ~Becky

Anonymous said...

If you took all the money that was spent on constructing megachurches with state of the art lighting and sound and instead built homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and provided free daycare for those unwed atheist lesbian strippers, I bet God would smile. -Luke

Roger Wolsey said...

Very prophetic. Thank you! I do hope you'll remember that not all churches are either a) mega churches, or b) profit motivated. Most churches in the U.S. have 100 members or less and God is profoundly touching lives through them. I happen to prefer progressive Christianity so encourage people to seek out a progressive congregation. Try googling, "progressive church nameofyourtown" or "gay welcoming church nameofyourtown." Peace.

Anonymous said...

Great post..I left the I c system for reasons like this and others..