It seems like there is a wave of questioning and disillusionment with church among friends and acquaintances these days. Much of what I’ve read and heard is very familiar to me. I may not know precisely how these folks feel, but I’ve walked many miles on a very similar road.
If church and faith seems too complicated I have few observations about why that might be.
Reason #1) In church many things aren’t really what we say they are
· We sit in rows all facing the same direction listening to the same person and we call that community.
· We chit chat about superficial things for 10 minutes with a coffee in our hands and we call that fellowship.
· We listen to messages that most of us promptly forget 10 minutes after leaving the building and we call that discipleship.
· We spend most of our money for people and programs to serve ourselves while telling ourselves we are building God’s Kingdom.
· We feel terribly isolated despite being surrounded by people because we are afraid to be ourselves. We stay so we can be accountable.
Other people might sense a disconnect in other ways lurking beneath the surface of our conscious minds.
Reason #2) So many of us really don’t know what it means to be a Christian
In my years of ministry I keep coming back to the same thing time and again. I keep running in to people who think they need to add something on to Jesus. It might Jesus+Jewish Festivals, or Jesus+Covering, or Jesus+Tithing, or Jesus+The next conference.
Really what it all amounts to is Jewish Festivals+Covering+Tithing+The Next Conference and precious little of Jesus. Paul went through something similar, although in his time it was Jesus+Circumcision.
His comment on the matter?
Gal 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness.
Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight — the only thing that matters is faith working through love.