4.08.2009

Who Needs Church?

There are a lot of Christian books coming out these days about how church has failed and why people should not attend Sunday services but should instead participate in some sort of "home-made-free-flowing-non-congregational-low-commitment-what-can-church-do-for-me" form of church. Such church critics are spot on.

First of all, we should all remember that, by definition, church is not a building, but the body of believers throughout space and time, and since a particular "church building/meeting" cannot replicate the full scope of church, we ought to abandon it altogether. What, I ask you, is the point of congregating on a regular basis with other believers to worship, fellowship, and encourage when it is impossible to meet with "the church" as a whole? 

Second, don't forget that churches exists to satisfy those who attend. What can the church do for ME? Often, church leadership loses sight of this, and directs members in other directions. Some common indicators of a church losing this focus include: worship is at the wrong volume level, the sermon is not the right length, the sermon calls me to something that requires sacrifice of comforts, they don't sing the right songs, the pastor asks you to participate in some sort of mid-week activity, etc. If you never get anything out of church, then you shouldn't be going. There is no other point of church except to receive, to be fed, to be poured into.  I cannot be asked to give back, to pour into others, to use my gifts for edification of the church. After all, that would require sacrifice and effort!

Third, the church is full of broken people. We are all, by nature, fallen people. Because of that, no church will ever be perfect, and frankly, a "local expression" of church is only worth pursuing if it can be done perfectly. There is no room in heaven for a church that doesn't get it right. Attempts at imperfect church simply lead to faction, heresy, and hypocrisy.

Fourth, there are many documented incidents of pastors, elders, deacons, and others in leadership roles abusing their power, failing their congregation, sinning in egregious manners, and generally not living up to their titles. Because this has happened on occasion throughout history, it is safe to assume that every pastor, elder, deacon, and leader is corrupt, and that it's only a matter of time before he fails utterly (and likely in a way he just preached against). If you have been hurt by your church leadership, or even by members of the church, don't bother looking elsewhere because everywhere is the same. Every church leader and member is really just waiting for an opportunity to screw you. There is no such thing as an accepting church. 

Fifth, there are more benefits of a "non-regular, non-Sunday morning" church than of our traditional church services. For example, you can sleep in on Sundays; you don't have those pesky regularly scheduled meetings, which allows you to spend more time working (or playing video games); you don't have to see all those broken people in need of Jesus on a regular basis; you are not required to develop your spiritual gifts to try to help people who are beyond help; you can sleep in bed rather than through the sermon; you can keep your "church" meetings unpredictable, which fools the demons so they have less chance of tempting you; you can eliminate all face to face interaction with other Christians by simply having "church" discussions on IM (or facebook); you can discuss Scripture with people free from the training of seminaries, and thereby draw whatever conclusions you want; you can escape those feelings of guilt you use to have when you went to church on Sunday; you can stop singing those awful songs they sang all the time on Sundays; and finally, you don't have to give any of your hard earned money to a church that will spend it irresponsibly - instead, you can spend it on your pleasures!

I hope you can see the dangers of traditional church. If you are still a part of a church, you should get out as soon as possible (although many pastors make such escape difficult by continually emailing and calling to check up on you). The new church is no church. The average person is much better off trying to match schedules with busy friends and meeting for informal discussions about "stuff" than going to a Sunday morning church services.

Oh, and also, if we destroyed all the nations church buildings, we could use the land for commercialized vending, which would create jobs and stimulate the economy thus pulling us out of this recession.

5 comments:

  1. Awesome...but then as a teacher of Swift's original work for a few years, I was intrigued by the title and had a good idea what the tone might be. Satire can be oh-so-effective.

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  2. Glad to see you blogging Andrew...for several reasons. In some of your own words.... First, it is another way for you to kind of congregate with other believers to worship, fellowship, and encourage at times and in ways that might not be possible when meeting with "the church" as a whole. Second, it is a way you can give back, pour into others, and use your gifts for edification of the church, requiring some sacrifice and effort. Third, welcome to this "congregation" of broken bloggers (myself included!), who are imperfectly trying to make a difference in whatever ways we can. Fourth, you have here a great opportunity to prove to others that those in leadership roles do NOT abuse their power, fail their congregations, or sin in egregious manners, and generally not live up to their titles. Fifth, you will be sharing your wisdom and knowledge and making a difference in others' lives beyond the church walls, while continuing to serve God and others the rest of your time in more "traditional" church settings. Oh, and also, this writing of yours may not have stimulated the economy, but it sure stimulated my mind!

    Thanks for this very tongue-in-cheek piece. You have very interesting ways of expressing yourself! :)

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  3. Oh...Bonnie posted that comment instead of Bill. after I hit the post button, I saw that since I was on Bill's computer (we share the same one but have two accounts on it) it used Bill's google email account for who posted it instead of my google blogsite account that I had thought it would use. (And will still use that account now, too, I guess, since I'm still on his computer... :( Sorry for the confusion....

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  4. Sadly,there are probably people who would agree wholeheartedly.

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  5. Hmm. Living here where there is no "traditional church" (or non-traditional church, or church in general) makes me wonder how the word "church" got turned into "a meeting once a week of believers in a designated building." Maybe we ought to raze the buildings down. :)

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