Imagine a group of people that work normal jobs, have normal families, who don’t do anything unexpected, who get together once a day every week to sing some songs, hear someone talk about how to be better at being normal, say “Hi” to each other and discuss the week using the appropriate group language, and then go home to repeat the process again.
How would you rate that story? Is it an interesting story? If that were a movie would you recommend that to your friends?
“No” you say, but you also think this doesn’t describe you
Your church is different of course. Your pastor speaks from the Word and your worship is inspiring. Your church is “spirit filled” and whatnot. And maybe that is true, but is that enough? Chances are that your church and the boring church above are essentially the same because the church doesn’t conflict with society.
True: A story becomes extremely boring without conflict
The Christian Church’s current story in America has no passion or drive because it has no conflict. These days there is nothing opposing the church in any serious way, there are no persecutors. In fact, we have become the persecutors.
Without conflict, the story becomes stale and boring.
The Church feels comfy under this subtle, fuzzy blanket that society has placed over it. Sometimes there is minor friction and that causes some static electricity but nothing major, nothing that makes anyone seriously uncomfortable. So why has it come to this? Why are we so complacent that nothing excites us anymore?
The answer is Jesus
Or rather the lack of following Jesus. To most Christian lives, following Christ doesn’t conflict with society or it’s rules. We can live a “good” life, consume all we want, live the existence that everyone (including non-christians) lives and we are just fine. No conflict, no friction.
But, there’s friction and conflict galore in the Bible
But when we go to the gospels, and when we read them not to help ourselves but to understand Jesus, we find all the friction we could ever need. Jesus calls us to leave everything and follow him, to sell everything and give it to the poor, to not even worry about food and clothes because we should trust that our father will give us everything we need, and finally he called us to make disciples of all nations. Do we even try to do these things? Are any of these acts, that were so important to Jesus, important to His bride? No, because we have lost focus.
We have replaced following Jesus with following the church
We pledge our allegiance to the church, we talk about the church, we worship the church in many ways. But the church is not the groom, it is the bride. We are the bride. This is simply another way to worship ourselves. We don’t draw any identity from following Christ, we draw an identity from the church that we “belong” to.
We aren’t Christians so much as Churchians
Here’s what we can do instead
We can go back to the scriptures and put into practice what Jesus commands us to do. We can try to pray more, or read our Bibles more, or go to church more, but Paul says that without Love these things are worthless, just empty sound and noise. He’s right. And how do these things show God’s love TO OTHERS?
That’s got to be the key. Once we are willing to open our lives to others, to help the poor, sell our wealth to travel abroad and heal the sick, to actually make disciples as Christ calls us to do, we are simply playing. Everything we do is sound and noise. Worthless.
And I’m tired of being worthless
I want to mean something, to be more in God’s eyes. Jesus said that many people will act religious, even performing miracles, but in the End he will look at them and say, “I don’t know you.” All because they didn’t open their hearts to the plight of others, they closed themselves off to the poor and needy. And therefore closed themselves off to Jesus as well.
I want Jesus Christ inside of me to rub violently against this world, and I want that friction to set the world on fire.