October 15, 2010

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?