Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Church In Peril

As a pastor for over 12 years, I have hesitation when writing this
blog and I will choose my words very carefully. Some of what I write
may sound inflammatory or cynical against the church or it's
inhabitants but this is not the intent. The intent is to speak about
what I think is clearly happening the the United States church.
I will begin with what I don't mean.

*I don't mean to disrespect any church or it's leaders.
*I don't mean to sound as if I know it all or have figured anything out fully.
*I don't mean to be too harsh or allow my pride to make me unteachable
to criticism.
*I don't mean to open my mouth and allow the words of the devil to
come out of it.

That being said ahead of time.... I love you. I love the church. I
love the United States. Most of all, I love God, which is why I write

The United States may just be the most impoverished country in the
world. We eat freely, we sleep freely, we assemble freely, and we
become habitually entertained. We still are the richest nation in the
world and it sounds arrogant to place us below countries without
drinking water. However, we are certainly teetering on being the most
spiritually barren. You can look around and see the way the world is
changing, especially the US and no one would argue that it seems to be
losing blood and weakening. So much of what our culture and society is
standing on is based on money. Our entertainment isn't following the
cultural norms, it is driving them. Our politics aren't based upon the
voice of the people, but the voice of the wealthy. Our morals and
ethics are not based upon our upbringing and homes, they are quickly
becoming driven by our media culture and ideals that don't really have
a base in any tested theory or doctrine. We are a country that has
lost value of life. We kill for many reasons, but here are a few that
don't match with the Bible.

*Revenge killing- One may have committed crimes against another, so it
becomes ok to commit the same crime to them. If you deserve it,
killing is ok. However, the Bible says we all deserve it.

*Convenience killing- If a life doesn't make sense for our plans and
goals, regardless of our actions to achieve that life, we have the
right to end the life. We can use our untested and untrue moral that
is based on the media all we want as justification, but there is no
science behind you.

*Pre-emptive killing- Made popular by politics, this one says, "Let's
look at our nation as the standard for everyone to live by and
eliminate those that don't subscribe." We have made ourselves the
Bible for the rest of the world. We will nuke you and have, but if you
mess with uranium, we will bomb your residents. We are the all
powerful dictators of the land. We have divorced our constitution.

What does this have to do with the church? Everything. We meet in
buildings made of beautiful stones and stain glass that presents our
suffering Christ. We sing together and hold hands. We listen to a
lesson on what God wants from us. We put our money in the plate. These
are all good things. But where is the follow through? Where are we
Monday through Saturday? Where is the fire and passion to make real
change in the world around us? Where is the Jesus ending up in our day
to day? I disgust myself often. I realize so many times that my words
are many and actions few. I speak of change and find myself changing
nothing. A very valid and applicable message can go in my ear and
register in my consciousness and leave out the other side moments
after the final prayer. All of our talking and holding hands mean
nothing without follow through. We have let our country go where it
has gone. It is the duty of the church to preserve the world. God said
we are the salt of the earth. We both preserve and flavor, yet the
church has become synonymous in our culture with mean spirited,
bigotted, political, and hypocritical. Much of what is said about us
is fabricated from this media again, however, not all of it. The
church needs to be seen as a healer and mender, not in groups of
whining people, shouting about our rights being imposed on. The church
is flourishing more in places you do not have the right to be a
church. They are sending missionaries here! We are flawed and broken,
but there is hope. God is good and faithful. God reigns still in us.
But God hates the lukewarm Christian. We are about to be vomitted!
What happens when the stones of our buildings get dismantled and

Doom and gloom. Nope. Hope. We pray and we listen for God. We shut our
mouths and get back to the basics of loving God and loving other
people. We love in a more practical way. Instead of raising awareness
for people in peril, go to them and help them in whatever way God lays
on your heart. For some, keep your money and use your hands. For
others, sell off all you have and give to the poor. Remember that true
religion is related to helping widows and those in prison, not holding
hands and singing through our tears. We need to worship, but we need
to stop crying and do something. Holding our hands outstretched to God
is only valid when paired with holding our hands outstretched to other
people. We don't fight an evil culture through our words, we fight
through our actions. If we all unify and shower this country with
love, those living in the dark will be able to finally see the hope we
profess. America is hiding it's light. The church in America needs to
be awakened, not by argument, but by example. This darkness in our
church must no longer be tolerated.

I write this out of a recognition of the darkness in me and my desire
to light up for all those around me. I am the worst offender, but
change comes with humility. Light will be found in Christ and our
obedience to following you He is.


Thanks for reading...Z