The Church is on Fire…

Posted on July 13, 2010


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why it is that I feel the way I do about the church and Christianity as a whole. I don’t want to be that bitter guy, and have that “I hate church because the church hurt me” mentality. I feel quite the opposite actually. I love the church… The Biblical church that is. The church that is the body, not some flashy organization teaching us to regurgitate dogma and ignorantly win our “moral” arguments. Unfortunately most of the churches I’ve ever attended have been locked into this mindset, and the Christians have been the daftest bunch I’ve ever encountered.

[Tangent: My Atheist friends, however, all come to their belief system for different reasons, and as such they study and research their position in a very personal way. I wish the church knew how to put such effort into their faith.]

Today I read a blog by my former pastor in Nashville, saying that he is convicted by a new book that’s out (Mere Churchianity by the late Michael Spencer), even though he doesn’t agree with a lot of it. He posted this quote from the book:

We have a culture-war spirituality that produces Christians who might never share their faith but are ready at a moment’s notice to debate politics, abortion and civil union for gay couples. It is a spirituality that calls down fire on its enemies and shapes its followers into intolerant soldiers waging a morality crusade. Its kingdom is the eventual triumph of moral conservatism, and its spirituality is conflict and argument.

Can we honestly say that Jesus was a culture warrior? Can we say that the spirituality of Jesus is geared to turning you into a noisy talk-radio pundit? Is our anger at the decline of culture really a dependable guide toward the experience of God?

And here is my question… How could anyone who has ever been a part of or witnessed the modern-day church, disagree with the above quote? Unfortunately quite a few people did disagree with it and I just had to shake my head with sadness while reading a lot of the comments on the blog.

So to summarize a few of my issues with the church I’ll post these bullet points:

1. I’m sick of the subculture: the pompous clique that hypes itself up like a high school football team. I’m sick of the Christian bubble– that includes the bookstores, the music, and the overwhelming desire to live apart from the everyday culture– which teaches us to be removed from the people who need to hear the gospel the most.

2. I’m sick of the focus. A few months back I went to dinner with Ted and Gayle Haggard and one of the things we talked about was the apparent lack of belief in the New Testament, in grace, and in love.  Are we really so blind that we only focus on politics, sexual orientation, etc…?

3. I’m sick of the lack of unity amongst believers. I don’t care how you choose to baptize someone. I don’t care whether or not you believe drinking beer is wrong or right. I don’t even care if you are protestant or catholic. Can’t we all just get along? The sad truth of it is that our “house” is massively divided.

4. I’m sick of the evangelical perspective. Most Christians haven’t had the opportunity, but on my spiritual journey I’ve gotten to see the church from the other side of the culture war, from the other side of the great divide. The church looks like a disgusting, condemned building than a place of peace and truth and safety. And to make matters even worse, Christians expect those outside the church to come to them? That’s BS if I’ve ever smelled it.

These are just a few quickly typed out thoughts on the subject, but I hope they are coherent enough to help you understand what it is I see, and what I believe more and more people are seeing on a daily basis.

It all leads me back to the quote that I’m forced to repeat to myself time and time again, a quote that I feel in my bones and in the very marrow of my spiritual self. “The Church is a whore, but she’s my mother.”

You can order Mere Churchianity by clicking HERE… I hope you do!