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A Transition.

August 23, 2011

I lied. Here is another post about Christianity and the church. I feel like I need to clear a few things up.

I’m not exactly sure where some readers got the idea that I am leaving the church. I never once said that.  I specifically said that I am not rebelling in any way.

Yes, I do spend a great deal of my time and focus critiquing the church and I admit that it is one of my greatest struggles sometimes; to love the church. However, I have never intended to, nor have I ever decided to leave the church. If anything, my struggles with the church have motivated me to be more involved and enthusiastic about attending because I feel like I can make a small difference in some way.

With that said, when I view the church from the inside and from the outside I can’t help but feel  sick to my stomach. I understand that nobody is perfect and that the church is made up of mere imperfect human beings.

But there is still absolutely no excuse for what the church has become.

Some sort of exclusive club where if you do not color inside the predetermined lines, then you do not belong and you are not welcome. (Also, I am doing a lot of generalizing here. Not all churches are like this. Just the vast majority of Christian culture in my experience.)

My intent with my last few blogs was to hopefully show the very few people who read them that there is simply more than one way to look at things.

Biblical things in particularly.

The Bible is a piece of literature. That means that there is room for interpretation.

Jesus spoke in parables and hardly ever, if at all, gave straight answers.

Because He wanted us to think about this stuff. To study it. To struggle with it. To questions it for ourselves.

If you battle with something in this way and come out believing the roots are much, much deeper than if you merely accept it because your pastor or an elder told you so.

I have grown extremely tired of the narrow-mindedness of the church and have hardly ever really felt like I belonged because I have simply refused to take everything said and apply it with out at least questioning or thinking critically about it.

Jesus encouraged critical thinking.

Not dumbed down, bullet pointed, surface-level thinking.

I questioned in my last blog what it means to be “saved” and “unsaved.” I think that this is a fun and important discussion, but I believe that we (particularly those in the church) spend far too much time focusing on this.

Making it to heaven should not be the primary goal to being a Christian. That seems rather shallow to me and causes people to center their cross hairs on the far and away as opposed to the here and now.

The focus should be bringing good (heaven in theory) to earth. It should be loving those who are difficult to love, helping those who need to be helped, providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, having conversations with people who long for a good conversation.

I recently had a conversation with a good friend who told me a story about how she met some old friends from high school for dinner the other day. They somehow saw her give a bottle of beer to her younger, underage brother and therefore preceded to tell her how horrible of a person she is and how she is going to hell. They actually told her that she is going to hell. And that they no longer wanted anything to do with her.

This is the kind of attitude the church has developed.

And it is bullshit.

And this is why I know that there needs to be some massive change in the Christian community.

Because this is not what Jesus taught.

If we were not so focused on who is saved and who is unsaved, we would not be forcing Jesus upon people and therefore turning them away instead of allowing Jesus to work through us naturally though genuine loving relationships.

We would not threaten hell upon people who give a beer to their younger brothers.

If these people really took the time to have a genuine relationship with this girl, they would know that she is one of the mot genuinely loving people they would ever meet.

Now, people like my friend reject the Christian faith because they get this false representation of Jesus where heaven and hell are the main priorities.

And threats.

To change topics, the church as a place is not necessary. (It is as a people. Never underestimate the power of fellowship.) Though it brings forth a lot of good, I think an ideal society would not include the church as we know it today.

For example, instead of giving up our tithes and offerings to some self-sustaining economy of the church for better drums sets and lighting set ups and bigger sanctuaries and basketball courts, we would give that money to people who actually need it. Who do not have enough money to even buy drums sticks or electricity, or a spacious home, or even a basketball.

But that is not the case and I am not leaving the church. And if I were, it would not be due to my struggle with the church as a people, but because of a difference in ideologies; that I do not believe in the necessity of the modern, organized church.

But I will continue to love the church (and hopefully do a better job of it) and have conversations with its people.

From now on, however; at least for the time being, I want to focus my energies on other topics. Because I want to be more positive in my blogging and my writing. I want to focus on other things for a change. I want to stop preaching. I want to expand. I want to show that there is more to life and the world and God than what is found in a book.

We cannot define God.

We cannot confine God.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    August 23, 2011 1:43 pm

    I have to say this post is much better! I don’t know if you have heard this story but we were told it in one of our trainings before we left to be counselors at the foster kids camp and it was really neat so I will share it anyways.

    One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
    a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

    Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

    The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
    The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

    Son,the man said, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
    You can’t make a difference!

    After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
    and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said,”
    I made a difference for that one.”

    This story just goes along with how you said the church is so worried about getting to Heaven that we ignore the earthly issues. After doing the camp I realized that it is much better to try and show hurting or angry people outside of the church God’s love through us rather than focusing on how we get them to church and save them. More people are willing to come to Christ if we show them how our actions are positive and sooner or later they will want what we have.

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