Posted by: jonespt | March 19, 2008

Thoughts on the Church

    I started reading a new book today at the advice of my wife and a few friends, and it got me thinking a little. So, I decided that I should write them down and since journaling in a cool, pensive looking notebook is outdated and for my parents, I figured I’d give this blog-thing a try. So, I’m fresh meat to this and really don’t understand what this is for and all the things that you can do with a blog and add to it so I apologize if my blog is dumb and not up to par to what the others are.   I just think I need an outlet in my life that allows me to catalog my thoughts and hopefully grow from them as I do. And then I hope that if anyone reads it, mabye my thoughts will stir them and lead to growth for them as well.
    So, the book I’m reading called “A New Kind of Christian” is what got my thoughts going this morning.  I was reading a section that talked about the author’s experience of challenging all his old thoughts and way of doing life (i.e. his worldview) and at first I was skeptical of a pastor challenging his faith and ministry because I automatically revert to judgement (because I’m real bad about judging other Christians) and think he just doesn’t get it or he must not be a pastor of a strong biblical church.  I think this because I come from a very rooted Christian experience full of a lot of teaching and instruction from my parents and church leaders concerning into the Christian life and God and the church, and I am very defensive about new ideas that suggest my background was lacking or had inconsistencies.  And though I appreciate my background and my childhood church and youth group for the foundation that I do believe it provided and for my parents who are the Godliest of people who I look up to so much, I realized as I read his list of reasons for why he started to question his faith that I saw a lot of the same things in my experience as a Christian and the same inconsistencies in the churches that I have attended.  Therefore, that leaves me thinking that maybe I need to investigate this a little and not be so afraid to question the church for what it does.
    Now I am not saying that I am going to question the Bible because I still believe that to be absolutely true and the source of Truth.  In fact, God’s Word is what I want to use as my anchor as I question the church and its inconsistencies.  One of the points the author stated was that as he read the Bible and what Jesus taught, it didn’t match up with the way the church was acting and I say I must agree.  For example, I see a lot of wealth in the southern churches that surround me and I also see so much poverty in the cities that surround me as well, and I only see the gap between these growing.  I don’t see the churches addressing this but only building bigger buildings and moving further and further from making a point of going into the city to minister.  I mean sure, they each have their events once or twice a year where they do something for those less fortunate in their neighborhoods or they have a some people who volunteer to serve regularly, but as a whole, there is no way that the churches can argue that they truly care about the city and the poor because their actions suggest they really don’t.  And what’s worse, as they build these buildings, they say they’re for the purpose of allowing more people to hear the gospel and helps them minister to more people when in fact it just makes more room for other church “country-club” members to retreat to instead of actually going to the places that need it.  That’s one of the things that I see as a major inconsistency with what Christ did and taught and what the church does now.  Christ’s first act toward this world was that he left heaven and came to earth to meet us where we lived.  Then, he didn’t build a building and invite people to listen to him talk, he went out where they were: parties, houses, local markets, country-sides, the streets, etc.  And, he didn’t waste his time ministering to the hypocrites of the day but he engaged the sinners and the poor and the sick; all those whom the religious hypocrites of the time cast to the side. (the same kind of people that the current church disregards).  
    So, all that to say, there are definitely things that the kind of church that I grew up in is doing wrong and missing the boat on.  Now I don’t want to be ignorant and label every single church as doing this because that’s not true.  Some do a great job at some of these things, but as a whole, the church that I have grown up with in the south does have a lot of problems that needs to be addressed/changed.  And, I’m tired of being a part of that kind of church because I’m missing out on doing what Christ wanted us to do, and I’m missing out on living a life that truly follows Jesus.  Instead, I’m replacing it with a life that is comfortable and safe.  At the root of that, though, is selfishness because I’m afraid that living a life that Christ has called me to involves giving more than taking and letting go of my worldly securities and comfortable lifestyle for a life that trusts God in ways that I’m scared to.
    Well, those are my thoughts and really are the theme of what most of my meaningful thoughts are about so I’m sure I’ll be writing more about that in the future.  If you read this and had any reflections of your own such as agreements, disagreements, questions, etc; please give me your comments and hopefully we can learn from each other.
    Cheers 
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Responses

  1. hey man, i COMPLETELY agree with all your thoughts, it’s something i’ve been talking to kim about the past couple years – i HATE how big and nice our churches are, how nice our gyms and work out rooms, our little tea rooms w/ $1000 rugs on the floor, our insanely nice sound system, etc. wow, think of how much money all that cost? now think of all the problems with wellfare and the govt’s regulation of it?

    who was in charge of taking care of the poor way back when, when there was no wellfare….the CHURCH!!! The church has dropped the ball of their God-given responsibility of taking care of the poor, widows, fatherless, etc. so i agree completely,

    question to you and emily – what are yall going to do about it when you get to seattle, it might not just be a southern church issue, not sure, what do you think?


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