It has been awhile since I have posted anything of significance regarding the church and I am hungry to do so. And while I am hungry and have much to say, it might not be best to take it public right now because not everything is fine-tuned. But when have I ever been known to hold my tongue for long. So here I go…
There are many dissatisfied with the church as it currently expresses itself. We spend time talking about it, sharing ideas and even doing our fair share of complaining…. but after all is said and done, more is said than done. Nothing could be more true of the current state of those of us existing on the outside of the insitutional church. Is this where we should be? Should we go back and work at reform? Should we start something new? Should we just stay away from church forever? Or do we just acquiesce to the current state and find joy within the bars of the system?
So here are some recent observations:
First, for the critics who say we should stop complaining and do something…. well we are. Read my previous post on rebellion to understand the situation for many of us. I was thinking of Martin Luther King Jr. who stood against the establishment in non-violent protest to change the world around him and I am inspired to think that my voice may invoke change in a system that is flawed but nonetheless an important part of the fabric of our society. While I do not believe myself to be on par or even come close with a man of King’s stature, I certainly “have a dream” of what I envision the church can and should become. I am currently trying to get my brain around what this “dream” is.
Second, as I have said before, noone should equate my grumblings for some innate desire I have to tear the church down and throw the baby out with the bathwater. Also, nothing on this site is specifically pointed towards specific people or churches. We never name names about our personal experiences and there’s a good reason…the illustrations and examples used could apply to many churches and leaders. The frustrations we discuss here are common to many who attend church… and this is not only true here in the US, but I am finding it to be true for people around the world.
Lately I have found that I am pretty conservative when it comes to my thoughts on the church. There are some that say “church is dead”. Others that say that it can never be relevant because it is too innundated and full of self-preservationists. I am not sure about that yet. The jury is out for me although I do see a monumental task ahead.
Third, the church is a mess. This is largely due to the myopic nature of those in leadership. Many of them are sooooooo close to the situation that they cannot see the forest for the trees. If they could just step outside of themselves for awhile. It has taken me leaving for awhile to see it more clearly. If they could just gain a fresh perspective possibly things might begin to take a turn towards a more healthier state. But they have been so innundated and immersed in their own subculture they do not, and possibly cannot, make fresh strides. The churches I have been around have insisted on pouring new wine into old wineskins again and again and again.
Finally… there are no easy answers. More importantly, there is no one answer to the issues at hand. I am not certain we even know all of the issues. It’s like chasing mercury. For those that say we must stop complaining and move forward I have said that we must keep complaining and move forward. We do not complain in a vaccuum. People are listening. We are gaining the attention that this situation deserves. However, we must move forward and not maintain our “non-church” state as the new status quo. We must seek the new wineskins that we desperately need to present the message of the new wine. We can’t be satisfied with “the way things are” or “the way things have always been”. We must “re-create” ourselves in an “ex nihilo” fashion.
Out of nothing… something will take shape.