Churches Are Misleading….

All of this makes me wonder if pews are misleading in churches. They trick people into thinking that Christians learn best by sitting quietly in rows, listening to lectures, and memorizing ideas about the faith. But churches should not be lecture halls. 

Church PhotoThe above short quote got my attention. It is from a book by Diane Butler Bass entitled Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.   I came to the same conclusion a couple of years before I read these words.  Churches in general are very misleading of what Jesus expects of us. Yes, I know some of my Christian friends believe that all we are supposed to do is to accept Christ as our savior and then spend the rest of our lives laying back and letting his grace flow over us.  To me, nothing could be further from the truth.

I am not one to have memorized the Bible so I can’t say for sure but I don’t believe that Jesus put much emphasis on us being passive followers. I suspect the folks who are aligned with that belief can quote at least a verse or two that if you twist it just right might infer that we are supposed to be passive.  I know I read the red letters frequently and what I see is Jesus telling me again and again to actively love my brother and to love God.

Getting back to the quote at hand, I think churches in general do trick people into thinking they are following Christ by just spending an hour a week sitting in the air-conditioned churches listening to  lectures and memorizing selected words to back up their static beliefs. To be quite frank, I just can’t understand all the lavish cathedrals built through the ages by the church. I believe in my heart that Jesus never intended that to happen.  I totally agree with Ms. Bass that churches should NOT be lecture halls and that includes lectures by the clergy of your favorite flavor.

If we truly want to reflect the heart and message of Jesus we should shut down our lavish palaces we have constructed in his name and move out into the community as he taught us.  Jesus did spend a few sparing times in the synagogue but he did not live there, or hide there as Christians today seem to do.  As a matter of fact one of the most visible bible stories is about Jesus going into a church to upset the local traditions of the time. He upset a lot of carts in that story and I think we need to do the same for him today.

Let’s quit spending all the money we collect in God’s name on ourselves and instead put it out in the community. Lord knows there are plenty of opportunities for us Christians to make more of a difference in the world today. If we want to be a follower of Jesus we should take his examples to heart and get out their loving the tax collectors, prostitute, poor and destitute in our day as he did in his.

Waiting For God…

(Here is a post from the past and on another of my blogs. Find the original here http://waiting4god.net/2010/10/04/10410/ )

I heard an interesting sermon this Sunday. It was about waiting for God. As you know this is a topic dear to my heart. Some examples given in the sermon were all the prayers to stop the BP oil leak and the many amber alerts that take place in the U.S. nowadays. The sermon thread seemed to be that we are always disappointed in the silence of God when it comes to our prayers. Why didn’t God stop the leak earlier? How can he allow children to be molested and murdered when there are so many prayers coming to him for a better outcome. Why doesn’t God answer our prayers?

The seeming answer to this dilemma at least as this sermon went was that Jesus’ resurrection was the answer to all our prayers. It should give us hope that all our pain and suffering will go away once we are called to heaven. So, we are to endure all our present suffering because of the future glory Jesus’ resurrection promises. Unfortunately, or maybe sadly, this type of conclusion is all too familiar in many of today’s churches. “Just hold on until the next life and everything will be wonderful”.

To me this is not what Jesus taught. He taught us that we as faithful Christians are God’s representatives here on earth and we are to take action in his name. When a child goes missing we are to do everything in our power to help assure a good outcome. We are also to support those who are activated by these alerts with both our time and our tax dollars. We should not be stingy with our tax dollars when it comes to our neighbor’s health or well being; especially the least fortunate among us. If a good result doesn’t come in these situations then it is our duty to console those who grieve. In other words we are to be our brother’s keeper. Christ did not intend us to passively wait until our death so we can see God’s glory. He meant for us to show His glory through our every day actions.

I do believe that God does from time to time give us miracles but those times are rightly very rare indeed. If he was constantly fixing our society’s and our personal screw-ups would we indeed have free will that he promises us? Instead of bailing us out every time adversity strikes us he intends for us to rally around our neighbors to assure good results or to at least ameliorate their pain and suffering. That is how people know we are Christians and that is how we show God’s true love in this world. We should be doing the work that God gave us to do and not be fixated on sitting around and waiting for the next life because it will be better than this one. Christianity is not a sit back and wait religion; it is a call to action. At least in my mind.