Okay so I read this post about church bashing and it gave me check. I love the church, I love going to church, and I love my church in particular, however, I had very recently written this post about my feeling that we are missing it as a body. So I read my post over and over again to make sure I hadn't aired my grievances at the expense of the church. I truly couldn't see that I had. In fact I had felt so strongly prompted to write that post that I still feel the weight of it when I read through my words.
Not a week later the subject of church bashing came up again on Facebook and I had a dear friend suggest to me that it is both the tone and intent of the message that determine the status of church bashing or not.
You see I have felt strongly convicted about some very basic and fundamental church practices lately and I have needed desperately to talk about them and welcome an open dialogue, but out of fear of putting something down to lift myself up I have chosen silence.
I actually feel that as believers in Christ it is our job to ask questions, to make sure not only our own personal life is becoming nearer to Christ, but that we as a group are doing the same. The Bible says that we are to use it as a mirror to check ourselves and so often I find that sweet conviction a relief in my own life. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could find the relief of burden as a church in the mirror of the gospel?
So here is what this is all about: I want to talk about church. I want to do it openly and honestly and I want to do it in a way that will make God smile. I want to do it in a way that will make Him say, "Yes! They are struggling, but they are struggling for my truth!" Basically in Christianese I want this conversation to be glorifying to God.
Now here is something else you should know, I firmly believe that we are all the Body of Christ. Don't believe in organized religion? Too bad you are still a part of the body. Don't agree with church XYZ down the street? Sorry Charlie, those are your brothers and sisters. Think denomination so-and-so has it all wrong? Well we better get on the same page because there is no escaping our unity. What I'm trying to get across here is that God has given us all gifts and specific areas of conviction that we are to use to reach the lost and we may feel that some parts are getting it "more right" than others, we might even be right about that. But the world sees "Christians" as one group and they are watching, but far, far more importantly GOD sees us as one. At the end of the day we are all in this together so we all need to participate in this conversation.
Lets lay down some ground rules for this series of discussion.
1. Heart check first- make sure intent and tone would make God happy.
2. Feel free to call me out if I miss it, but please do it nicely. The whole point of this is that two heads are better than one, I am totally open to new ideas!
3. No name calling or "us" and "them" attitude. Lets talk about what we are doing right without putting down others. In fact, lets try to recognize how we might have played a part in creating the things we don't agree with.
4. Lets go ahead an accept now that what works for one group of people legitimately might not work for another and as long as we are still preaching the gospel and making disciples that's okay!
So are you in? Can we talk about this? Are you brave enough?