[Angry post. Sorry.]
I know too many Christians who are yelling, “Don’t guilt-trip me bro, you can’t judge my faith, don’t be a hater, Jesus loves me no matter what” — and this is really a pseudo-grace that doesn’t even begin to address the complex reality of our messed-up beat-up hearts.
If we continually hijack beautiful words like “freedom” and “grace” to become hipster relevant rebellious Christians who are “not like those uptight religious people,” then we turn Christianity into a popularity contest of appealing to the burnt-out prodigals. We make phrases like “everyone struggles” into an excuse to be supposedly helpless out-of-control morons, which also diminishes people who genuinely struggle.
Without a very real cross, we turn grace into an abstract fuzzy feeling like a Hallmark card from the dollar-store. It works for about two seconds until you have to confront the ugliness of our human condition.
I’ve met some of your favorite Christian pastors and authors and bloggers: and at least half of them are insufferable intolerable jerks who can’t handle ideas like rebuke and discipline and self-control. They feel threatened by the very possibility of becoming a Pharisee, so they cuss and drink and bash megachurches: not for any legit reasons, but to prove a point. Many of them live in a reactionary counter-culture of “me” versus “the church,” as if they’re wearing a cape to save you from the Pope. They’ve been burnt by a bad legalism, but in response, there is a new type of legalism: to be cool hyper-grace Christians that only talk about God’s warm winter-blanket love.
I’m not okay with this because I’ve been burnt by both extremes. I’ve been blasted by Reformed Neo-Calvinists AND emergent hipster “grace-only” Christians. I’ve been cussed out for showing too much grace AND upholding the law. I’ve been blasted by doctrine nerds and megachurches and parachurches and those bloggers who preach a good blog but are actually self-important snobs.
I know I’m probably doing the same thing I’m accusing everyone of doing: but I seriously hurt so bad for my fellow brothers and sisters. I do love them, regardless of the damage. We could be so great in the world, if we weren’t trying so hard to out-great each other.
It doesn’t matter how much we flaunt grace in our sermons and blogs and podcasts: because when I see you behind closed doors and you’re still bad-mouthing everyone in black-and-white categories, no one is impressed by that, including you. I don’t care about your fancy words. I care if you love me and you love Jesus. Not perfectly, but with sincere passion. Jesus didn’t die for your platform. He died on a dirty Roman cross for your very real sin. And that grace is just as much for you as for me as for the Pharisee next to you.
14 thoughts on “Christian Bloggers Who Bash The Church As A Platform: You’re Not Cool or Relevant or Interesting”
When I first started reading this post, I thought I might be one of the people you are targeting with this message. After all, on my blog I often confront mainline church ways. But after reading your post more fully, I’m not really sure.
I just want to stay focused on truth. If I bash people, as long as it’s with Gods truth and a bit of compassion, I hope I’m not crossing a line.
Thanks for the thought-provoking words. Cheerio
As always, I’m preaching to myself when I write these things too. I’m included.
Just my take: I do think truth is important, but if it’s not told with the motive to build up and love, then that truth will still be important, but it will never cross any bridges. It remains in the ivory tower. I was mostly a truth-guy until I realized no one could hear me over the volume of my voice. But love is not some way to Trojan-horse the truth either. The fundamental motivation has to be love, and I needed to change that twisted part of me.
Ouch! And Yay!
What Joseph said. 🙂
If you hate the church, you hate Christ. Period. Romans 9:5 makes this crystal clear.
Certainly the church has hurt its share of people, but yes, I still believe the church is God’s idea and hope for the world.
“We could be so great in the world, if we weren’t trying so hard to out-great each other.” When you do a rant I, also, check to see if I am a target. Sometimes I am, no doubt. I walk a fine line between raising the call to love and serve Jesus, not religion, and calling on people to stay connected with other believers, somehow. But the quote I took out of your article is the test – am I better or just another? If better, I’m sunk. If another, well I need the rants just to keep clean and clear.
Sorry if it did come across as a guilt-trip, I try to be careful even during “rants” as you say hah.
I hope you didn’t take it a criticism because I need a shake-up every once in a while (or more often than I want). Rant away every time God places it in your typing fingers.
Church, like everything else in life, isn’t about me. It’s about Jesus and making me more like Him. I believe He is powerful enough to use even imperfect, broken bodies to restore me. I believe He is powerful enough to use imperfect, broken me to restore others in my church family.
A friend recently recommended a couple of books that I’m really excited to read. Pagan Christianity and the follow-up, Reimagining Church by Frank Viola (and PC is also by George Barna).
Also, this is great – “I was mostly a truth-guy until I realized no one could hear me over the volume of my voice.” I am constantly working out that balance between grace and truth.
I’ve heard of both! Might have to add those books to my wish list.
I’ve heard it said, “A perfect God uses imperfect people for His perfect purposes.”
Being a mostly truth-guy, in the end, is not very joyful. If joy is the first thing to go in our spiritual lives, then something probably isn’t right.
Love this..you definitely nailed it! Jesus was “..full of grace AND truth..”!! They go hand in hand, can’t try to walk in one or the other or there’s gonna be trouble. 🙂
Yes! Straight from John 1:14. 🙂
There is a big difference between crtiquing how we church and bashing the church as an institution. The former has the intention of refining and challenge the church to be what it ought to be. The latter is just bashing for the sport of it.