I’ve spent a lot of time lately, asking myself what I think the church should be VS what it is. Dreaming of not the modern American church, with all of its geopolitical Christianity, but rather, the simple, stripped down faith that I long for. And how do those things “fit” in an already existing church in modern america?
I dream of a church where choices are made not based on what groups give, and whether or not it impacts attendance. That we call out selfishness, pride, love of money, and lack of humility with the same fervor that we use when talking about homosexual issues, transgender, or socialism.
I dream of a church that refuses to call things a sin that aren’t in scripture explicitly. With zero scripture about transgender, and only things implied, I dream that we could approach the topic with infinitely more humility, grace, and love for those who fall differently than we do on the issues.
At the same time, I want a church that is avant-garde in it’s use of the internet- that the church stops viewing online services as a place to stream a video of what’s going on in their service on a Sunday morning! If people wanted to see what happened in the room, they could be in the room! That there’s no shortage of places to physically go attend in person to sing songs and hear a 30-60 minute message about how the world should go back to just before TV’s started being in color. Instead, let the message mold to the medium- let us speak differently, understanding that we’re speaking to a different people completely. If Paul could be all things to all people, if the sermon to the gentiles amongst the statues of their gods sounded different than the sermon preached to the Jews- why can’t we understand and apply that NOW? God’s truth is unchanging, and constant. But the manner that we communicate it changes through the years, should mold and change to fit those we’re speaking to.
Right now, post-covid, we’re seeing massive departures from the church, especially from the young to middle age. Simply put, I think they’ve seen through the completely false narrative of Christians being “pro-life.” The selfishness, the pride, the unwillingness to in any tangible way put others ahead of ourselves- they’ve seen through to the nasty core of us, and they just want nothing to do with that form of Jesus.
But then they try us out anyway, check out a church- and they hear all the people we stand against, all the things in the world we hate. I’ve FOR SURE heard more sermons that make communism or socialism the big bad in the world more than sermons about pride and greed and how to stop exemplifying them in our lives. It’s amazing to me that what WE need if we truly want to grow and change to look like Jesus, is exactly what the younger generation DEMANDS if they’re to entertain anything we have to say.
So the church has to change- we have to strip away those pharasee items we’ve become so ok with, do some real soul searching about if we’re seeing the lost and hurting, or if we’re demonizing them. And maybe, just maybe, we can see the church become what it was meant to be- a place to GROW and a place to REACH the lost. But right now, it’s not encouraging.
I’ve been “in charge” now for over a year of our church’s online ministry. But we’re not alowed to post youtube topical video’s grappling with ideas. We’re not allowed to cut the sermon from sunday services online- we’re hamstrung by our vision loss that things online in this age must look largely the way they’ve always looked.
I think we can change EVERYTHING. We should always as a people of God be digging into God’s word, we should always be worshipping, but everything about how that happens? Fully up for grabs. But the sacred cow of sunday services has become dangerously close to an idol, if not an idol outright.