Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Challenge to Churchy

I met up with my twin bro yesterday. We had a good chat. He used to be a Christian but would now describe himself has an atheist who wants to believe God exists. He's an atheist because he can't come to any other conclusion based on everything he sees and has experienced. But he would love it if God existed.

We were chatting about church when he said something that really impacted me. It was along the lines of:
'Christians do these events, big and little, so they can be deliberately 'churchy' and have a rest from being 'missional'. It makes me think that anything missional that churches do is just and act or facade. Church in these scenarios seems to be fake. It makes me wonder if the expressions of love in these situations is actually genuine.'

A real challenge. Do we love for loves sake? Or are people just a target to convert?
Also, can church communities be a place where we are always being real about who we are and therefore allow others who we meet be real about who they are? Can we ever drop the 'show' and be who we are called to be?

8 comments:

BanksyBoy said...

Challenging stuff... check this book out, on the Greenbelt Blog, haven't read it but went to Frank Schaeffer's talks last year (have 'em on CD too for lending?!) and the book is on my wish list:

Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism)

Joe said...

Looks good! I'll have to borrow those CD's soon... :0)

Amie Spiller said...

I think Church these days is exactly that - a facade.

A lot of it is about target practice rather than an uncontrollable desire of the spirit to speak out about what Jesus has done for people.

We talk about loving one another and the good acts we can do for each other but what is it without actual deep love?

Its so easy to 'show' love. I could go next door now and offer them a pint of milk and smile, be polite and offer to help mow their lawn. But inside i could be just doing it because that's what i should do to be a christian.

I think that this is a reason why people arent relaxed or happy in church, becasue lets face it - we cannot be real human beings.

If an openly gay man stepped into our church and swore at every other word and made crass jokes to everyone. How would we respond?
With absolute contempt, cringing at every swear word he said, feeling uncomfortabel because its the first time we had ever actually spoken to a homosexual? All the mean while desperately praying for his salvation??? what about the prostitute or the promiscuos lady/man who is addicted with sex? But its not just 'worldly' people that we do this to - its the ones we see everyday. And these are the ones we are called to testify to!
Heres one to ponder about - what about the gossip monger who judges these kind of people behind their back?

I dont fully belive that the church is actually loving people the way God intended us to. I think we know all the right words to say, but when it comes to our hearts it really is all a facade. I dont deny that there is some genuine love in church for i have been blessed by this from many. If all we show people is a performance then no one will see God for who he really is, and certainly no one will stick around. A caberet has to end eventually, the curtains will finally close.
I think we are far more 'churchy' than real.

'If i have not love, i am just a clanging symbol, an empty sound'

Joe said...

Yeah, you make some good points. Like you say, there is some very real and genuine love within the church that I too have experienced. And I am so grateful for that.
I think it's not that people aren't genuine in their love but that people are uncomfortable being completely honest and open about who they are and where they're at. If the church can cultivate a place of love and acceptance and openness then we're gonna be heading in the right direction.

All Christians everywhere are called to be like Jesus in thought, word and deed. When people look at us they should get a reflection of Christ. Sometimes the only encounter of Jesus that people will have will be through us, so if we're a poor example, then we will severely hinder their discovery of God. Whenever Christians are too 'churchy' or 'worldly' then it causes massive problems. We're called to be a Kingdom people...

Tim said...

I just read this morning Rom 12:5-16. Right up this street.

Joe said...

Yeah, it is. It is important to embrace diversity and celebrate it; to honour one another.

malianta said...

We can only give what we have received. If God's love for us is only theory, propositional truth, we have nothing to pass on to others. I can highly recommend the book "He loves me" by Wayne Jacobson to help us first experience this love.

Joe Haward said...

Amen, amen. I'll look the book up.