Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Enough is Enough

For those of you who don't know, I am a recovering church basher. Let me explain. I have spent my late teen years and early twenties pointing out everything that was wrong with the church, instead of being the church. From music to leadership, I have had some rude actions, under the breath grumblings and down right hateful comments towards the American church. Honestly, I feel some of my opinions about our brand of theology in America is watered down, but that is not what I am referring to.*

I am talking about my specific disdain for individual churches. This is not spiritually healthy. God doesn't want me bad mouthing the church, his bride, anymore than I should be talking bad about my neighbor (see Revelations 19:7 and Luke 10:27). If I am tearing down the bride of Christ, I am actively dishonoring God, spitting and throwing dirt at the Almighty. The church, a community of believer who gather to hash out God's word, love one another and win others to Christ, should be honored. The church should be a bunch of sinners who come together for correction, encouragement and praise for the Creator. And yet, through my pessimistic lenses and haughty attitude, I see only the negative from the bride of Christ and dishonor God.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Romans 14:19).

Enough is Enough
I am not only calling out myself, but those who have similar attitudes. We need to be disciples of Christ, not outsiders who claim to live a different and better brand of Christianity than what the church is offering now. The American church is in dire need of leaders: men and women of faith who will stand up for scripture, defend the bride of Christ, and become assets of the church. The church has plenty of enemies, but where do you and I stand? If you were in my sinking boat, than you are currently an enemy. Are you an enemy of God? Enough is Enough, "...because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelations 3:16)." I don't want to be lukewarm any longer and I encourage each of you to do the same. We need to build a better and stronger community of believer, instead of punching holes in the walls allowing Satan to spin nasty webs. Where do you stand, lukewarm enemy of the church or on fire for God?

May God Bless and touch each of you this week.

*I do believe with sound doctrine, faithfulness, positive and corrective encouragement through strong leadership, action and prayer can help change the American church; the negativity from professing believers must stop.


randman said...

Good thoughts, my friend.
But, the church is not now nor ever will be perfect. As long as the leadership and members are human it will always have problems.

tomcottar said...

hmmm...in my humble (but accurate)opinion (LOL):
people forget that progress is not painless. many times what we want is some kind of spiritual birth control-- where we can fast forward through all the church’s failures and frustrations to being this deeper, wiser, group of God-like beings. (i.e. give birth to great things without having birth pains or doo-doo to clean up).

However, just because church people have the ability to match their clothes, facilitate a killer book discussion, or belt out on-key worship lyrics does not necessarily mean they have pure thought lives, a solid marriage, or the ability to always—without fail—act like true representatives of God.

This should be obvious. However, whenever we experience pain at the fallibility of the church, we are still surprised.

Apparently, however, the fact that the humans who run the church are flawed is not a new revelation.

While imprisoned by other Christians, the 16th century priest St. John of the Cross, wrote a series of reflections entitled Dark Night of the Soul. In it, he described how the pain present in our normal life routines is a useful element of the Christian experience. As the pain slows us down and forces us into sometimes tense reflection, we often see things in the darkness that we would never see in the light.

After reflecting on this suffering leads to hope equation that the apostle Paul also mentions (Romans 5:3-5), I’ve come to suspect that the painful moments define the Christian church just as much or more than the bright ones.

So I've quit looking for spiritual birth control and a painless journey. There may be a perfect church there. I can't go, tho, because I'll screw it up by being there.

Media-Man said...

I really understand what your trying to say. However I feel before you try to call people out for their mistakes by admitting yours, your kettle must first be clean and I think that would require perfection and we both know that it is not possible to be perfect here on earth.

The church is an institution created by God for us to use. If you find a perfect church please let me know. Not so I can go there, but so I can stay away. Churches will always be full of sinners and if you claim your not then your a liar.

We will make mistakes and we will always serve with people who make mistakes. Just remember God loves them to and remember what 1 Cor 13 says about love. We must love our brother's and sister's and help them in a loving way, not in a way where they feel "called out". I love you dude, but be careful.

Keith said...

I'm a new reader, but I'm hooked for life. I applaud your confession and realistic views. To all other posts, FYI: YOU ARE THE CHURCH!!!!. The church is not a building, a steeple, or a parking lot. They make for great places to meet and worship freely in this great U.S. of A. but that is not the church. Thank you, Jeremy, for speaking your mind but also being willing to open yourself up as a REAL human leader. That is what the world needs is not "perfect" but "real". (Step off of soap box)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading all that you have to say...especially the responses or comments that you get. You are a true man of God and through your words, that is told. I think some confusion has taken place even through the comments that were left...but this shows how God truly works through you to get to others to cause such a reaction as this. Jeremy, keep it up man, God is going to use you in a mighty way.

Anonymous said...

How can we, as christians, use the term "calling the kettle black" if we are called to witness to others and allow them to accept the fact that they are sinners, as it says in Romans. No one, at any cost, is perfect, but we can try to live more like Christ and through that telling others that their decisions are not what God would see as living out a holy life. So does "calling the kettle black" mean that we, as believers, cannot help out our brothers or sisters in Christ who we see going on the wrong path? Or can we understand that our past mistakes are forgiven and move on to a new life, knowing that God will work through you if you choose to do His will? just a thought...

Brandon B said...

I was actually thinking about this today, how people bash the Church of Christ and still think they can wholeheartedly embrace its head: Christ.

Where in the Christian tradition has there been this idea that Christianity can be an individual thing? It's always been about community, even in monastic orders. Individualism among some 'rogue' believers is the result of bad Gospel presentations and Western culture, which for the last several decades has been on a crusade to tear down every establishment in society (government, social tradition, church, science). Out of this comes those who simply want to structure their part of the Church differently (the "emergent church"), but many individuals think that they can worship Christ better if they don't have to deal with corrupted people in Christian communities. I want to ask them if they could be considered corrupted, too, and if push came to shove, that they're actually more spiritually pure than everyone composing these congregations.