Archives For church

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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Yesterday was Easter, which is of course one of the biggest church attendance days of the year.

Many churches make a big push, perhaps second only to Christmas, to lure people through the doors. There are massive Easter egg hunts, parties, and everything else you can imagine, I suppose to disguise the fact that church is actually supposed to be worship. Kind of like putting a nasty tasting dog pill inside a treat so he’ll eat it.

Sunday got all the attention, but today is Monday, and I wonder what people will do. Will we sleep in because we have the day off? Will we groggily go to work and talk about what a great weekend we had?

The thing is, there is a disconnect between Sunday and Monday.

Sunday, many churches spent a lot of time and effort and money, trying to show everyone how great they are, how exciting their programs are, how “relevant” their worship is.

But what happens on Monday?

Monday is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Monday is where relevance really happens. Sunday is a day off. Nothing bad happens on Sunday (kind of.) Monday is generally decried as awful. And Monday is when people remember that there is a disconnect between what we say we are, and what we really are.

We have a lot of Christians in this country, trying to tell everyone how great we all are, and a bunch of non-Christians who say that, actually, we are awful.

We can go to church and feel great about ourselves on Sunday. And a few people may show up and agree. But on Monday, all bets are off.

D.L. Moody had this thought that we were told to let our light shine in the world, and if we are doing that, we won’t have to tell people it’s shining.

I think we’ve got much of that backward. We have very little light shining, and a whole lot of people talking about the light.

light

Sunday puts everyone in a good light. We were all wearing our best pastel colored clothes. We were all in a good mood.

But today is Monday. Time to get to work and let that light shine.

We bloggers can a funny bunch of people sometimes.VH_iStock_700x330px_0000117

Especially those of us who blog a lot about topics related to the American church.

Always in search of fodder for writing, there is no shortage of blogs that have been written about what is wrong with the church. Every so often, there is a public departure by a prominent Christian from some wing of Christianity. Or a leader will explain why he isn’t going to church these days. And a whole bunch of us will talk about what this means for the church. My own keyboard has not been exempt from these activities.

But I’ll tell you something.

I think I finally figured it out.

I figured out exactly what is wrong with the church.

That’s right, I have found the source of its problems. I have discovered what is making it be the monster that we have made it out to be.

Maybe we can put this discussion to rest.

Because I have figured out, once and for all, what is wrong with the church.

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