Monday, July 20, 2009

What Is Wrong With The Church: Some Simple Thoughts

Churches, like individuals, come in all shapes and sizes with varying personalities, purposes and visions. Some are full of life and draw you in, beckoning you to become a part of its' vitality. Others are cold, arid and devoid of life, causing you to want to run for the door like one might hurry to leave a mausoleum. The living won't linger among the dead. And many, many are somewhere in between, unremarkable, uninspiring and largely unattended.

Yesterday morning I attended a service at a church that is full to bursting with the life of God and I came away encouraged, challenged, and hungry for more. More of God and more of healthy body life. And just for the record, that is how I believe church should be. It seems that everyone has their own idea of what church should or should not look like and some believe that their way is the only way. But, if I might make a bold assertion, I don't believe God is the least bit offended by diversity. The last thing He is going to be crammed into is a man-sized box designed to formularize the God of the universe and the "building of His church", which is His job-not ours. (Matt 16:18)

What does offend Him is pride, which, oddly enough, is at the root of every problem that is encountered in the church. Pride elevates self over God and this is, quite simply, what threatens the furthering of the Gospel and the very life of the church. It would seem to me that if we stopped trying to do His job (building the church) and merely cooperated with Him by disregarding self, adoring Him, and loving others.....the church would explode in such a way that our finite minds never imagined. I don't pretend to have all of the answers and I don't even know what such cooperation with Him should necessarily look like. I suspect it will look gloriously different in different places. But always is will be devoid of pride. Always His children would refuse to focus on what they find disagreeable in the church and choose to focus on all that is good and right in His Face. Simplistic, I know, but I am foolish enough to believe that the Gospel was intended to be just that.

Your thoughts?


Rachel July 20, 2009 at 9:15 PM  

When I meditate on Christ a few things come to mind, humility is one of them. I find myself thinking a lot about humility lately. How does "considering others as better than yourself" look like in the day-to-day? It seems to me that the humble spirit leaves no room for judgement. I think this challenges everything we humans typically rely on, especially our ability to reason. Not a bad thing, considering the only viable alternative is to trust in him completely. Not a bad thing, but certainly not an easy thing.

Beth Brawley Taylor July 21, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

Really good, Rachel. And, as you say, really difficult.

Terra Jones July 28, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

"Always His children would refuse to focus on what they find disagreeable in the church and choose to focus on all that is good and right in His Face."

I like this. I personally have found it to be fruitless and frustrating to constantly diagnosis the church. We could spend our entire lives pointing out each other's shortcomings. I know God resists the proud and there are many ways the church could improve particulary in the area of humility, but I also trust that God is able to correct what is wrong in his church as well as he is able to correct the wrong in me.

A quote that has brought me much peace in this area is taken from Gary Thomas' book "Holy Available":

"Let's honor what God has done, is doing, and will do through his imperfect church, even while trying to reform it. Not one disciple of Jesus lacked some serious faults- yet Jesus still loved, called and used each one.">

Beth Brawley Taylor July 29, 2009 at 3:47 PM  

Great quote, Terra. Thanks for sharing it!