I don’t want to be another Christian that beats up and hates on the Church. I realize that I do it and that it is easy to be the critic standing from a distance throwing stones. But I don’t want to be that guy.
Here’s the truth…I really love the Church. Not in the way that you love a weird uncle, but in an extraordinary way. I think when I get frustrated with things that are going on in churches around me, I can have a tendency to be scathing and mean. I tend to forget that the Church is, and always has been, a work in progress, and getting upset at it’s imperfection is often times like getting upset at a 4 yr. old’s inability to do quantum physics. Needless to say, I can go too far in my judgments and criticism, which I believe I have done in the last few posts and for that I’m sorry. I really just want you, me, the Sunday church-goer, the beat poet cynic, the coffee house critic, the hypocritical and sincere Christian alike, to take a good look at ourselves, not just as individuals, but as a community and ask what needs to change for us to become the city on a hill giving hope and direction to the millions still lost in the perilous wilderness.
The pastor at a Church my wife and I attended put it well this weekend. He talked about the author of Hebrews frustration with his congregation and their lack of spiritual maturity. “For though by this time you should be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12) He talked about how a common reason people will leave the church is because they are not being fed there. He said, “Babies get fed! It’s about time we learned to put the spoon to our own mouth and feed ourselves on the meat of God’s truth!”
I think much of the reason why I can be ineffectual, why we as a church are ineffectual and irrelevant to our communities, is because we haven’t let ourselves mature past spiritual infancy. We are like a giant powerful body laying paralyzed on the ground because only a few of it’s parts have realized that they are supposed to function.
We are a stumbling block to non-believers because of stuff we keep forgetting. We forget that God’s gospel is powerful and doesn’t just change where we go after we die, but it changes how we live now. We forget how powerful and ambitious God is. We forget how merciful Christ is. We forget how important the community of church is to God’s plans. And on and on and on.
I want to examine those things that we keep forgetting, so that we as a Church body can continue to grow past infancy and be the force in our culture that God intended.