You will have a moment in church when you’re standing among the shouting singing people and suddenly the plastic fog machine and laser lights and high-def jumbo screens totally expose themselves: and the magic spell is broken.
Instead of your normal Sunday high, you kind of get a headache from that thrashing electric guitar. The drums pierce you. The lead singer turns back to yell a cue at the pianist; the bass guy checks his watch; the back-up singer turns to cough. You’re taken out of the illusion and you see everything exactly as it is: and how it’s not supposed to be.
The preacher walks up with his iPad and hipster glasses, and his cheeky greeting and well-timed delivery and the announcement for that potluck just ring hollow. None of it feels real anymore. You hear a pretty good message that’s precise on doctrine and speaks relevant truth: but somehow it feels shrinkwrapped, safe, and pulled from the assembly line.
None of this is wrong, really, but you feel something is missing.
Maybe the preacher even tells you what’s missing — but the church keeps doing what they’ve always done.
Back to your car, back to your phone and Facebook, back to the grind of everyday reality: you forget you ever felt that way.
But for some of you, it stays. It keeps you up at night, it burns like a hot needle, it bothers you. You wonder if there are other people just like you, who see something is just off and are not okay with it.
I can tell you, at least one person agreed and he did something about it. So they killed him on a cross. And then I realize why we’re all okay with complacency: because authenticity costs too much, and very few of us will deny ourselves to take up that same cross.
Some of you, by the grace of God, will follow: and you will not turn back.
Continue reading “Upside-Down Church: When You Know It’s All Wrong Somehow (And You’re Ready For Better)”