Originally posted September 27th 2008
First of all… yes I’m still alive. Even though I haven’t posted in ages.
As we get settled in (whatever that means) to life here in Canada, it’s been busy with trying to find work, actually working, doing stuff with the kids, etc…
The whole “church thing” is still a frustration. No matter how we try, and how much we like the people at our church, we feel like we just “don’t fit”.
It seems that as our thinking continues to change after living for three years in Ukraine, working with orphans, and everything we have seen and experienced, the direction of our home church here is changing (or seems to be) in the opposite direction of ours. Maybe they aren’t changing but it just feels like that to us…
What is it that bugs us about church? One thing is the view of Evangelism.
I read a post today on a new blog called “Fallen off the Platform” that talks about the same concerns we have. Read it here.
In his post, the author says this:
“Where I’m from, the church will usually have a ’special’ night where you’re encouraged to bring along ANYONE you’ve ever clamped eyes on. Sometimes this’ll take the form of a ‘worship outreach’, or they’ll have a ’special speaker’ (y’know, the guy who’s life was a mess, who God made a huge success and he’s now a millionaire and tells all the right jokes with the perfect timing) or sometimes they’ll even have a film night or a drama production that depicts people dying and being faced with the reality of meeting the devil in hell or being welcomed into heaven and getting a big hug from the guy in a white robe with a stick on beard. (Who thought up this stuff? Can you hear them now…”That’s right…what a great idea…let’s scare folks into the Kingdom with eternal damnation, bad songs and sub-standard acting”) “
Well, it seems that our church has decided to do the same thing. In a few weeks, they are staging a production of “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames”. Personally, I’m not sure what to do with this. Seeing the big sign in front of the church makes me cringe! Yes, many people will likely come up and make a “decision”. They will decide to say a prayer so they can avoid hell. Is that the same as making a decision to follow Jesus for all of the good things He taught? Is that the same as making a decision to follow Jesus and sacrifice yourself for others?
Seems to me that these types of things simply help build a church full of Christians who are in it for what they can get (Heaven), and what they can avoid (Hell), instead of actually committing to living in the way Jesus did. That takes work, and sacrifice, and is more about what you can do for others than what you can get for yourself.
I’ve mentioned this before… I think Shane Claiborne was right when he said that following Jesus really messed up his life. Jesus does that to people!
But then again, it’s harder to fill up churches that way…