ofjoyandfire asked a question:
I am so, so in to your blog. There’s this sickness in the church; we notice the things that are wrong and ungodly in the church, yet instead of acting against them and defending the honor of the Lord, we sit and wallow in our complaints. That’s one thing the Lord has been showing me lately. He’s been showing me the wrongdoing of his people, and the fact that they do nothing about this wrong doing. I am so thankful that you (gracefully) call these things out. God bless, friend
Hey my dear friend, I’m right there with you.
I was talking the other day with my friend about “church problems.” Things like: the praise team members not practicing, the pastor saying something weird and off-putting in his sermon, the room is too cold, the bulletins have typos, those members don’t like each other, that one guy who keeps coughing during service. And my friend said (paraphrasing), “These are not real problems, this is church people stuff. There’s real hurt out there. I don’t really listen to the complaining anymore. I just want to meet people in their real world.”
The truth is that most of the suburban upper-class church has the privilege to complain about “right doctrine,” church structures, and in-house bickering, but the entire world is bleeding in their homes and workplaces and hearts. That’s not to diminish church problems: they exist, they’re real too. But the priorities are way off. When one more churchgoer tells me about their whack sound system, I say, “Well go fix it, and pray for the persecuted Christians who are being killed by ISIS.”
Those who only complain about the church and do nothing to move forward with solutions are revoking their own right to complain. As a pastor, maybe I’m biased. But I’m exhausted these days of first-world church division. We have too much time to over-think these things, while my North Korean brothers and sisters are systematically crushed for their faith and Iraqi Christians are regularly imprisoned or killed for saying Jesus. From Kiev to Pakistan to Ferguson, the church can’t stay in our four walls anymore or we lose relevance and purpose.
I know we can’t do everything all the time. We can’t boycott everything or donate to everything. We each have limited resources and time to give away. But I hope that the global church uses these resources in a prioritized, grace-driven, wisdom-drenched manner that looks to the battlefield against evil instead of against each other. Anything less than this is outside God’s Will, and is the very reason why the world looks at the church as some kind of bizarre out-of-touch virus.
Please know that I love the church. I’m sorry I sound so harsh. I don’t want to be one more guy who badmouths her. But it’s my very love for the church that causes me to grieve, because we could be so much more. While so many of us sit comfortably on our blogs (including me right now) and try to go viral or sound holy, I want to be part of what God is doing on the earth. I’m praying we roll up our sleeves and get into the dirt where Jesus is. I have hope for the church, that we’ll get there by grace.