Posts Tagged 'church'

The Church

A phrase (or, I guess, moreso a collection of words than a phrase) I hear tossed around a lot is, the church.

The Church isn’t meeting my needs right now.

I’m so dissappointed sometimes in The Church for being so hostile to nonbelievers.

I can’t believe The Church would make such an outrageous statement on homosexual marriages.

The Jesus behind it all is fine,… I just don’t really like The Church.

Sometimes, upon hearing such phrases — and knowing that I myself have used this illustrious phrase more than once — I wonder… who am I actually talking about? Is it a group of snotty people sitting somewhere, reciting their memorized bible verses and shunning the lost & poor? Are they people you hear about the news, or people whom seem to wrong those you love, or those whom seem to say the wrong thing or make the wrong decisions? Are they those you see on the news, the fundamental or mega-church congregations?

To those issues, I hold this challenge… You are the church. Jesus proclaims one Body, one resurrection, one church that He will call His bride and rapture prefix to the second coming. Yet… we impose such judgments, divisions on ourselves.

If we wish to truly see a change in The Church in our generation,… well,… I think we need to become the church first. And until then, we have no excuse to blame issues that are caused by the sinfulness that is oh so ingrained into our own bodies as others (to quote Relient K, I’ll point one finger at you, and four back at me.)

it doesn’t mean anything… does it?

More than a few months ago (maybe even a year ago), I made a post on a blog (similar to this one) about how Ohana means family, and family means noone gets left behind. I made a comparison to how the church is Family, (or… supposed to be Family).

Then a friend, through an IM, after reading my blog, made a comment to me: After reading your blog about how Ohana means family…  I couldn’t help but feel angry and bitter because i know that in any church, that means absolute bull.

At the time, I thought my friend was just suffering from some sort of resentment towards particular people within that church, or a few broken relationships. But you know… the older I get, the more small groups and fellowships and meetings I do to, see how that’s true. sometimes, the concept of family is just… nonexistent in church today.

how sad…

When to call it quits

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last night about the nature of churches. The fundamental question that came up was, when are we justified to leave a church?

At the local church I am currently attending, what started out as a humble, 70-ish or so people gathering at a movie theatre (read: only a dozen or so cornell students) within the last two years has attracted to nearly 200 regular attendees, and about 50 or so Cornellians. That being said, there has also been a noticeable shift in the nature of sermons within the congregation. Comparing a sermon series from last fall (Sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, picking apart verse by verse to see the meaning of living out the Kingdom on earth) and this fall (Series on How to Overcome your fears, with fears from loneliness to spending too much money, to fear of God).

It’s not difficult to see that the direction of the church has moved towards more of a Christian advice-y, seeker friendly, relevant church that has moved away from more of its exegetical, Christ-focused preaching. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more churches like these all across the United States — in an effort to attract those within a community, to focus more on the benefits of Christian life and less on the atonement and sacrifice and glory of the cross — not as extremist as the prosperity gospel, but somewhere sketchily between.

But where do you draw that line? How do you maintain the wholeness and integrity of the Gospel while keeping its relevance to culture?

And,… for those attending said churches, when would it be okay to leave?

Personally, more often than not, I’d feel like I’d be coping out on a congregation by picking up my bible and notebook every time something like this happened. At my home church in Chicago, a number of members left when our English pastor left — only to return this past summer when we received a new one. But, what loyalty does that show to the church? Or are we not leaving because of comfort issues?

Sigh… who knows. Back to complex integration.