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I Am All for Church

It was brought to my attention that the quote I posted on my blog and Facebook . . .

"While many American churches are worrying about the lighting on their stage, or fussing over the displays in their foyer, children are suffering in orphanages, groaning...aching...for someone to come redeem their lives."

might have been misunderstood by some to have been an indictment of the church.

It was not intended as that. In the context of the original article that I linked to I thought it was clear that the church is a vital part of the support network necessary to help rescue, defend and love those who need it most.

I am all for church. I believe in the church. I think the church is a God ordained entity.

But many individual churches are broken. They are dysfunctional. What I did intend with this quote is to point out one such area that needs serious and immediate attention.

Please hear me say that this quote wasn't intended to run people off from church. It was intended to challenge those of us in the church to step up.

I've been a part of the church since I was a baby. My dad was a preacher. I went to Christian school, Bible college and seminary . . . but no one ever acted like the verses in the Bible about the widow and the orphan were important?!?!?

We were worried about whether the girls’ skirts were an inch too short or the boys’ hair an inch too long. We got in trouble for wearing pants. We dissected verses and debated whether we were predestined or foreordained and what that meant exactly. But no one ever even mentioned we had an OBLIGATION to love on the least of these.

I even heard teachers and preachers talk against what they called the "social gospel" as something to be despised because feeding people, clothing them, loving on them wouldn't "save" them eternally.

What about the verses that say "What you do to the least of these, you do to Me. -Jesus"?

What about the fact that until they know we love them enough to feed them and clothe them, they have absolutely no reason to listen to what we have to say about a man named Jesus who loved them enough to die for them?

Our church right now has a 1.5 MILLION dollar building plan - to put glass in our foyer and stone on the wall behind the preacher. REALLY??? How many people could we reach with that 1.5 million dollars if we used it on PEOPLE instead of paint, glass, and stone?!?!?

I know that’s a bit taboo and some of the people from church may read my blog. I’m not trying to offend you. But did you ask that question when you voted to approve one and a half million dollars to make our already ostensible property, umm, prettier? Good stewardship of what you have is far different than remodeling to keep up with other churches in the area.

Those of you that are arguing that pretty facilities and expensive accessories will help bring people into our churches where they can hear about Christ must not have spent much time in foreign countries. Believers in Africa? China? Haiti? India? Most of them meet in homes. Sometimes under the threat of persecution. But they BELIEVE. They’re filled with joy. They serve and give. They’re the ones willing to take in children that aren’t their own simply because no one else will – even if that means sharing the meager rations they already spread thin among their family.

American Christians? We pour money into buildings, programs, salaries, toys, the list could go on. We don’t want the starving, the beaten, the trafficked, the unloved, the abandoned, the hurting . . . they can’t be our problem. If we give a little money to a missions board. If we donate some canned food or throw a few bucks in the offering plate, we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

You know what a job well done is? When you take two foster children into your home and spend almost every minute of the first week loving and consoling a child who knows no boundaries.

It’s when you have an average job and live in an average home and yet you do everything you can to make sure there is one less child with no arms to hold them. A few less bellies that will go hungry.

It’s pouring hours and days of your life into raising money to put shelter over families who have run out of options.

I haven’t done any of those things. I’m not sure I could do any of them well. But those are my heroes. I see Jesus in those people. I think He looks a lot more like them than He does the pasty picture on the wall in the church building.

Please don’t think me hateful. Much is lost in the writing and reading of a message. Were it not for the church, I might not be a believer. But because I love the church and respect her ability to move mountains, I can not stay silent about such a monumental issue.

We will all be held to account one day. Are we doing what we should?

Talk to me about this. What is your opinion?

Comments

  1. I was horrified when I heard that the Touchdown Jesus outside of Cinci was going to be rebuilt. really? that's the best use of that church's money?

    I'm right there with you lady. except I have to admit that I don't act on those commands often either. I mostly like to judge other people for doing outwardly what I do inwardly. ugh! help my unbelief!

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  2. I believe I would be in a different church. Not being mean, just honest. Our church preaches regularly on the orphans and widows and we make it a purpose to do for others who don't have. We have a bus ministry ti pick up the little kids and bring them to church where they can learn about God and the bus drivers always have something for them to eat because many of them have nothing at home. We support many missionaries all over the world and my pastor's family are some of them in Peru in some of the worst, poorest places imaginable and their entire family is there with them. I am saddened by so many lukewarm churches and you are right, you can definitely see God more in the little people than in the huge, opulent buildings that don't preach loving all and giving all even if that may be a small amount like the widow's small amount.

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  3. It was really nice to read a voice of reason among all the grandstanding. I live in Dallas, home of so many multi-million dollar churches and think the same things every time I drive by them.

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  4. I'm a Christian and I totally get what your point was and what you're saying and I agree with Shana - I would find a new church. I attend our itty bitty community church across the street-45 members. The fanciest thing we have is a beautiful stained glass half wall behind our famale pastor...a stained glass wall that our pastor made herself, with her own money. We fix something in the church when it must be fixed-the cracked sidewalk outside because it's dangerous for the older folks, new windows that it took us 8 years of savings to get because the old wooden windows were costing us a fortune in heating costs, etc. We sat on wooden chairs until 5 years ago when we finally got pews, & we were fine with that. All of the money that we collect & raise from fundraisers, aside from absolute necessities, goes to the needy. Our pastor goes without so that she can give her own personal meager income to the needy. Our Fox 8 News has a thing called "Pay it forward." You nominate someone you think deserves 400.00 & if the person is nominated, the news crew comes out & films while you surprise them with it. I nominated pastor Donna because she gives literally all of her money to the needy, while she drives a car that's falling apart. What did she do with the 400.00 that was for HER?? She gave it to the needy. To me, & I'm sure I'll offend some, churches that spend the money they take in on "Keeping up with the Jones'", on completely uncessary material items are not truly Christian churches. Okay, off my soapbox now!

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  5. AMEN and DITTO and THANK YOU. It will always strike me as sad when you can privately raise that much money for a building that could perish in a fire yet you have to beg to get even close to the missions financial goal. Kills me.

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  6. I agree that maybe this church is not the right fit for you if you don't agree with their priorities. My church is undergoing an expansion which will be costly but it is with the focus of providing more for our community. For example, we house homeless families regularly and the building they stay in is not adequate for the size of families we have been hosting recently. So, I don't think it is a bad thing for churchs to raise and spend money as long as there is a clear goal that the parishoners can get behind and support. God bless you for having strong felings about your church's activities. People like you can be the kind of change that can make a difference in the church community and the community at large.

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