It’s not much of a secret I’ve taken a very long break from church and church-people. Frankly, I’m sick inside and I have been for a long time. If you know me personally you’ll understand that I’ve seen two once thriving churches collapse under their own manure, and one that has a very personal story I just don’t want to share.
Our churches are in trouble and too few are standing up to the issues of today as they sit and holler “Old Paths” fundy-isms. While a church bleeds and dies from the top down, it also rots from the pew outward.
Click through and see if you see anything familiar.
Let’s look at one of the problems I believe is responsible for so many pastors leaving the ministry. Simply put, instead of living as communities of faith, we are Sunday gatherings of happychurchpeople with bright smiles who have little connection with one another and are engaging in one more weekly activity.
There are several comments to the above linked article that are very good.
As for me, I have my reasons. They’re myriad and multifaceted and multiplying, to tell the truth.
Here’s one of those must-read posts that a friend shared on facebook earlier. For a long time I’ve been annoyed with the mecentric preaching of some popChrist preachers. I keep hearing them blather about God’s best for them, God’s healing for them, God’s blessings for them, God’s blahblah for them, and God is universally concerned with their rights. God will smite you if you violate a popChristian’s “rights”. You know the ones I’m talking about. If you know one of those there are some words they need to hear.
You gave up your rights the instant you declared Jesus to be your Lord and Salvation and vowed that all your life was His alone.
This mecentric “gospel” and #ScatologicalEschatology the modern pulpits are spewing sure does garner a lot of popChrist followers though. Its promises even extend to God allowing anything because everything is forgiven in popChrist and we have no need to fear any repercussions because God surely won’t allow horrible things to happen to his popChrist followers.
This kind of Scatological Eschatology comes from one thing: Listening only to the pulpit and not studying God’s word for ourselves. Jesus is not a candy vendor. Stop treating Him like one. With that, I’ll stop my rant. Please click through and read Kyle Donn’s whole post. You won’t be disappointed. You may get hurt though…
“They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.”
Hebrews 11:37-38 (NIV)
Again, we read passages on the sufferings of Paul, like 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, and find our hearts stirring within us as if to say, “Ah! If I could just have that kind of faith! If I could just live with that kind of abandon! That is what I was created for!” Our generation has reached out in longing saying, “there has got to be more than this!” and is finding that heroes like Paul seem to have found it… It’s that variable on the back of our tongue when we hear the words “for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” It’s Jesus. Untamed and unadulteratedly Jesus. Unpolluted by what the church wants to make Him… Unbound by what modern Philosophers want to call Him. We only want Jesus. And no less.
This kind of Christianity is dangerously cool. And that’s the thing… it’s dangerous. Here and there, it’s spot on; but my fear is that it flirts with the edge and settles for the empty satisfaction of a cultural ego-trip – thirsty to hear cool people say: “Wow! You’re doing great things for God!”… It says, “I’ve got style… and heart.” And when our “style” starts to get a little to close to our “heart” our faith begins to become as skin-deep as the skinny jeans we like to wear.
Please read the whole thing: sexy “christianity”. — kyledonn.com.
Have you ever been in the middle of the crisis feeling anguish you can’t cope with and there are no answers and the friends you thought you could count on have left you in the ditch to rot and you just wish you could curl up in a dark place to pull more darkness and isolation over you so you could wither and die? That’s called despair.
And when people tell you that God never puts anything on you that you can’t handle does it stab you in the gut and leave you wanting to claw someone’s eyes out for being so insensitive and stupid?
Sound familiar? Been there. Let me tell you I love you and I understand. Get in touch if you want and we’ll talk if you need it. I won’t tell you that stupid platitude that is nothing more than, “Oh, come on. You can handle it. It can’t be that bad. You’re not a good Christian if you can’t handle it.”
Nonsense. Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll tell you the story of the time God shattered me into into so many itty bitty pieces It’s hard to find the old me anymore. Almost 8 years ago… Another time perhaps.
A friend who has also seen some very hard times shared this blog post and it’s well worth sharing again and again.
God won’t give you more than you can handle. If I may be so bold, let’s just call that what it is:
A good read for several reasons.
I’ve seen this before in several ways and it always boils down to one thing:
If you will not take God seriously in His word and believe that Jesus is who he is, the heart becomes sick. The head begins trying to think its way out of God’s clear word and will do anything to justify its own self and itself becomes sick between dealing with a sick heart and the insanity of a mind that thinks it can save itself. With a sick heart and a sick head, the body will die.
It is agonizing to belong to a local church body that’s tearing itself apart. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see the entire denomination in chaos.
I promise I’m not insensitive to the need for lots more conversation on the subject of homosexuality in the church. But to elect and appoint people to Christian leadership who are deliberately ignoring God’s word and self-justifying what the Bible teaches is wrong will lead to misery every time.
Convention attendees were told that they had spent $18 million this year suing their own local congregations — those which have protested the denomination’s policies by trying to secede. The New York hierarchy has consistently won in court – asserting that the local members signed over their buildings decades ago. As a result, some of the largest Episcopal congregations in the United States have been forced to vacate their buildings and meet elsewhere.
So now, convention delegates were told, the denomination is the proud owner of scores of empty buildings nationwide – and liable for their upkeep in a depressed real estate market where empty church buildings are less than prime property. It’s the classic “dog in a manger.”
The church-as-church paradigm is failing. Why?
I honestly think that nobody wants to grow up. As believers, we’re not designed to live a lifetime on spiritual milk. We need meat and vegetables and gravy and sweet cream and luscious pie and fish and corn on the cob and fried Okra and beans and cornbread and tomatoes and mashed taters with lots of fresh butter. And we need to be treasure hunting. It breaks my heart to know that we have pews and chairs loaded with adult Christians who come to church to be fed but they can’t open the Bible and cook a single thing in it for themselves. After a while the milk gets sour and doesn’t satisfy. How about a nice potroast?!
But if you teach your flock to feed themselves, they might start to think for themselves.
I’ve served with controlling and abusive pastors. Just yesterday something came to mind out of history and I saw it in a different light and as I was standing at the coffee maker I said to God, “He manipulated me!” The situation’s detail isn’t important. Suffice to say that 8 years later I’m still processing some aspects of it.
Abusive pastors can come in as many flavors and colors as you can dream up and though there are so many that are very gifted at being a servant to their congregation, I fear that the ones just needing a church job and the controllers and the users outnumber the good ones. Please God, let me be so very wrong.
My absolute best advice for any believer: Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you (there is one Teacher), open your Bible and read it. If you don’t understand it that’s okay. You’re not alone. If you’re utterly perplexed accept that you can’t know everything and move on. But keep reading and keep pondering and wondering and looking for Jesus in every single word. Don’t just believe because someone tells you something. Check it for yourself. If you don’t know where to start, try the books of John,, Matthew, Romans, Hebrews, Galatians, and Ephesians to start with.
Earlier I shared about abusive pastors and how to spot them. Let’s get into a little more detail with a blog post I really enjoyed reading. It’s honest and candid, and it speaks to what a “pastor” should be.
“Do you want to be out of a job?” he replied.