Archives For church

Lots of people have been burned by church.Pulpit

I probably cannot think of too many more popular topics for bloggers and Christian writers.

Here’s what’s wrong with the church.

Here’s all the ways the church has offended me.

Here’s how the people who go to church are hypocrites.

I get it.

I really get it.

Because I’ve been in church leadership.

The thing about being hurt by church, being offended, being burned, is that I’m not sure how many people ask themselves “who has been burned the worst by church?” We assume that our experience is the worst. We think that our crisis of faith was the deepest.

But I can tell you something. I can tell you who has been burned the worst by church.

It might well be the guy standing up front.

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What do you do with this many refugees?

Apparently, we already have enough immigrants, so sorry.

Apparently, we already have enough immigrants, so sorry.

Anyone who is even remotely aware of global events, of course knows about the refugee crisis in Syria. More displaced people pouring out of their homeland than at any time since WWII.

The world has an opportunity to respond. But it’s going to cost a lot. And so, here you and I are, far removed from the problem, while our government and our churches try to figure out what we are going to do about this.

It has been interesting, and a little disheartening to listen in on the discussions happening, from radio microphones to pulpits to people I have encountered, about what we as a society should be doing in the midst of a crisis like this. I have heard a lot of points that are made to try to deflect the need to respond.

You know, the way we respond to people in need says a lot about our hearts.

The reasons that keep us from responding might say even more.

These are some of my favorite ways Americans are deflecting the need to respond to Syrian refugees.

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Can it even be true?abort3

You and I and everyone else has surely been watching the news, the videos, the protests surrounding Planned Parenthood. Some of us may have suspected that more atrocities were happening than the public was aware of. Others deny that anything is happening at all, that the videos have been doctored to look particularly damning.

Here’s what I know.

I know I have never been inside a Planned Parenthood.

Therefore, I can’t say for certain what goes on.

But this I do know this…

Evil is everywhere. And if the allegations are true, it would not surprise me. It would not surprise me at all if there were doctors who were harvesting babies for profit.

It would not surprise me at all, because one time, several years ago, I had a brush with a doctor who did just this very thing. He ran an illegal, black-market, fetal organ harvesting operation…

…And he was a part of my church.

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What’s in a name?

Last week, while walking with my family around the neighborhood, we passed by the elementary school, with a yard sign out front. A church was renting the space on Sunday.

“Oasis of Love Family Church.”IMG_0384

I kind of cringed at the name while I snapped a picture. For one, “Oasis of Love” sounds kind of funny. If I moved to Nevada and opened a brothel, I might call it “Oasis of Love.”

But even more so, I cringed at the second part of the name, “Family Church.”

There were lots of things this church could’ve done. They could have used just the word “church.” They might have paired it with the word “community.” They may have called their church a “worship center.”

But of all the choices they had, they used those specific words. And in so doing, they illustrated what many of our churches are guilty of, a guilt that I thought about while I walked home with my new little family…

…Our churches have made an idol out of family.

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When I was in college, I watched many of my youth group friends leave their faith behind.leaving+the+church

As I grew up through my twenties, I realized that I had lived through what had become a massive statistic. It turns out that most kids raised in American Christian churches drop their faith by college graduation.

Plenty of leaders, thinkers and writers have pontificated over this statistic. Most of them look at the “millennial” generation from afar, decades separating them from the people they claim to analyze.

But now that I’m a parent, this is no longer a remote or abstract exercise in analytics. It’s terrifying.

As a parent, I want my child to embrace my most personal and deeply held beliefs. I cannot imagine what it will do to my wife and I if he should reject the faith we are trying to teach him.

And yet, the numbers aren’t good. The odds are stacked against us. It seems that we will more than likely fail.

But I think I know how to beat the odds. Because I think I finally have an answer to why our kids, raised in church-going homes, have largely discarded their faith.

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Way to "engage" with the culture.

Way to “engage” with the culture.

Over the last few weeks, my social media feeds have been filled with plenty of Christians trying to discern how the church will “respond” to the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

Most of the responses are based on fear.

Most of the responses belie an “attack and defend” concept of the church.

There are plenty of Christians who think the American church is on the ropes, that we are very close to becoming a persecuted minority. Soon, pastors will be forced to perform weddings they do not agree with, churches will lose their tax exemptions, and perhaps even worse consequences will occur. Cultural influencers publicly cry that there are thousands of pastors willing to “die” for this cause.

And you know what I can now conclusively say?

All of these responses, based on fear, defensively postured, conceptualized as “attack and defend” are kind of pathetic.

And if your church is responding this way, it’s kind of pathetic too.

Here’s why.

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