Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"It is not that we have lost faith in God, it is that we have lost faith in the church"

What are you to do when you find yourself in a place where you hate the church, but you know in the deepest of ways that you love God? And how do you reconcile the God that you know with the hurt that you see the church bring? It's no new concept after all- the church has been a source of hurt and wrong doing since the very beginning. That is a concept that transcends religion. No matter what God you believe in or what denomination you identify with, where there is a church, there will also be people- perverting God's words and distorting God's will. History repeats itself and it may have been thousands of years ago, but not much has changed since the time that Jesus stood outside of the temple, flipping tables and declaring it to be a den of robbers. The very institution that proclaims to love God and represent Him on earth, has become the same institution that is the pinnacle of earthly wealth and shallow intentions. I am speaking of course of the church in America, I am not familiar with anything else. The churches where the pastor takes an offering and it is not used to feed the hungry or clothe the poor or provide shelter for the homeless or even further "the gospel". No, it is used to pay the mortgage of the house that is too big, to buy the new playground for the children to use once a week, to buy a new drumset so that worship will feel more "alive", to buy more cushioned seats because we couldn't stand to be uncomfortable for an hour and a half, to send the rich american high schoolers to another country so they can see what it is like to not have any material possesions- as if they were going on a vacation to see some far away zoo, except instead of being filled with animals it is filled with people, living real lives and doing real things. 

The word "christian" has been turned into a description of someones character, rather than a statement of their beliefs. To say someone is a Christian is no longer to say that they believe in Christ, it is to say that they are a good person. And in doing so, we have taken something so deep and personal and mysterious and turned it into a shallow, black and white way of living. And I'm sure we all know- not all good people are christians and not all christians are good people. In fact, most of the best people that I have met have not been christians. 

In many ways, it seems that the church has reduced a relationship with God down to a set of rules, of which they are the author and in doing so, have made themselves one of the most trivial, laughable institutions. The church has been so busy criticizing and judging that it has failed to notice the foundation that is crumbling under it's feet. Because when you remove the grey area that is a fundamental part of Christianity, what you are left with is a breeding ground of insecurity and judgement- where  imperfect people are trying their damndest to be perfect and in doing so, have sucked every bit of grace out of the room. 

We judge because we want absolute truths from a religion that doesn't have many absolutes to offer. We point fingers because we can't accept that what tempts you and causes sin may not tempt me. We are no longer looking to God for how to live, instead we are looking to friends, to pastors, to the seemingly "good" christian people around us. And in this, I have found that there is nothing more than sore disappointment. 

So that is where I am left- with my hands in the air wondering what the hell to make of all of it. I have started from the most fundamental levels and so far the truth I have found for myself is this- I know there is a God and I know that I have felt him. I know that things are not as they should be and I know that I am not the only person asking these questions. And of the rest- of my opinions on the church- I do not know if I am right, I do not know if I am wrong- I only know what my experience has been. 

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