I write this next post with a heavy heart. Most of my previous posts have been fueled by intellect, however, another force will be driving this one. Intellect is still the basis of this force, but something deeper, darker is also here. Please hear my heart. Every example and illustration is from my personal experience and is true and I can give many more examples for many of the points.
I was recently reminded by a pastor that “Christianity is hard and hurts” and “it could cost you.”
I simply want to ask the pastor, and you: How has Christianity hurt you? Or more aptly, has Christianity really hurt you?
I do not mean hurt like, my professor doesn’t like my views, but a deeper kind of hurt like, the essence of me as a person has been attacked.
I have. Since starting my current journey a year and a half ago, I have had my character attacked, I have been called homosexual in the church, people I serve have stolen from me, I have had to work from 12-20 hours a day to insure that people hear about Jesus. I have seen people I love work for six years without a pay check and almost no breaks. I have seen churches stop supporting us financially and then chide us for our foolishness when we cannot afford a security system. I have had to pay a cost. Have you? Honestly? Sure you have to get up early Sunday . . .
I am sick of hearing senior pastor’s proclaim their love for minihry and then proceed to preside over a budget with more money for flowers than for benevolence. I am sick of slick youth pastors who are paid to speak at events tell me I should trust in the Lord, and then proceed to go home and preside over a group of children who go to camp because their parents are afraid that something might happen on a mission trip.
Last summer, I was hosting a group of middle schoolers on an inner city mission trip. While we were in the middle of the community, a car drove by and shot bullets into a group about 50 yards away from us. The group quickly evacuated, but later the middle schoolers concluded that they wished they had been the ones shot because they knew where they were going, but those who were shot were did not have that same assurance. These children got it, they had a price to pay, and were willing.
As a Church, we praise Lottie Moon who died of starvation, on a ship when she was already headed home. However, honestly, is there any starvation inside the church? What about outside?
Now, I know exactly what you are saying right now, ” ShatteredChina has a point, there are so many churches like that, thankfully mine isn’t.” STOP RIGHT THERE. Examine your church because that statement just sounded like the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.
We suffer from “Church Pride.” It is just like when I worked at Starbucks. I loved working at my Starbucks and it obviously did everything right, but the one down the street makes drinks wrong and has bad service. Or so I thought. However, all the Starbucks had different problems, and so do the churches.
I am sick of going to a conference and hearing a teacher talk about what is happening in the church and then say, “but I am so glad that your churches are not doing that.” Wrong, the reason the teacher is addressing the issue is because our churches are doing something wrong. Not our collective, general churches, I mean our individual, specific churches, including the one I attend. We need to have the basic humility to realise and accept this and then do something about this, instead of passing the blame to the next church.
The small churches are proud of their heritage and despise the big church for its self centeredness. Both ideas are wrong. Your heritage is dead and God called you to bring others to LIFE and the big churches meet a need in the body. The big churches provide programs for people and do anything to attract the pocket book and overpower the communities of small churches in order to do minister. Both these mindsets are also wrong. The church is to attract the heart, not the clothes, and big churches should partner with the small churches to help the small churches to provide ministry in a small community.
And really, these are just two blaring problems in so many churches. Revelations is clear that there will be a great falling away from Christianity in the tribulation. How many of those in the pew next to you will fall away. Sure, your group is probably pretty strong because you are in it and know those in it, but what about the people who aren’t in a group in a church? And what about those who drop in and out of your church? Here is a question for you, would your church let a drunk homeless man sit on your front pew? Honestly?
Consider this true story as I close. The New Orleans public pools system was holding a party in 2003, the pools were celebrating their first season without a drowning in years. As the party ended, a body was noticed floating in the pool. The 100 lifeguards attending quickly retrieved the man and tried to resuscitate him. He had died. The man had drowned while a hundred lifeguards around him were celebrating the absence of a drowning that year.
Why are we celebrating a new building, a larger Sunday school, or a single salvation while the people around us are still going to HELL?
Edit: If you ever get the chance, watch “The Second Chance” with Michael W. Smith. Don’t just view it as entertainment, though it is, view it to learn and understand because it is a reality.