Sometimes I take a peak at the website I put up for the church I was once a member. I have been gone for three years now but nothing has changed on that site since I left. The pastor just doesn’t see the Internet as being valuable in reaching out to the community. But one thing that is updated is the text of his sermons are added each week. I glance at them from time to time just to get an idea of how the church is doing.
One thing that has not changed in these eight years of the church’s existence is the “Sit Back and Wait Syndrome” is still at the core of the congregation. Of course this is typical of many fundamentalists churches today so I should not be surprised the weekly message stubbornly continues to be the same thing over and over again. The “SBAW” syndrome goes something like this:
- Everyone of us are dreadful sinners and there is nothing we can do about that. All we can do after we accept Christ as our savior and then hunker down against the big bad world and sit back and wait for the second coming.
- Since we are nothing but miserable sinners God doesn’t expect anything from us. He has done it all so it doesn’t matter how we act or what we do. But if we feel like it we could try to do some good deeds and he won’t mind. The only thing that really matters is that we hold strong to the beliefs we have been taught and then sit back and wait…
- Since God is absolutely in control everything that happens is his will. We don’t need to do anything in our communities. He will do it all. Neither do we need to do anything to bring new members to our church. All we have to do is sit back and wait for him to bring them to us in his own time, not ours.
You get the idea of the “SBAW” syndrome. It justifies doing nothing within their communities or for that matter even making any changes in their personal lives. When they are confronted with those growing mega-churches they say they are only successful because they pander to sinners and tell them that God loves them anyway so they can just keep sinning.
Of course I, and hopefully many other followers of Jesus, take a very different track on our spirituality. We believe Jesus’ church to be about “doing” not simply believing. We are to do everything we can to make the kingdom of heaven here on earth. We believe that Christianity is supposed to be a very active thing and is definitely not a sit back and wait proposition. Jesus clearly taught us otherwise.
My fundamental difference with the “SBAW” crowd is that my faith in Jesus is not only being my savior but, maybe more importantly, being my lord. That is I study his words to find out what he expects, or maybe even as the great commission says commands, of me in this life. To me that is unquestionably to be very active in my community to love others with the love of Jesus in my heart. He no way intends us to just sit back and wait while bemoaning the big bad world out there…