NOTE: The premise of this post began stirring in me more than 5 years ago. I have written several variations in my head, on paper and in blog drafts. To write it all out would take days. It has been condensed here for easier reading.
When I had my “Jesus moment”, I was a young, single mom in my early 20’s.
I thought that He (Jesus) was the answer to all of my problems. And, I also believed that Christians were good…and perfect.
Just like Jesus.
They are a people far from me. They speak as though they know me. But, I do not know them. Words flow from their mouths, but I hear nothing. They sing their songs and lift their hands – it is but noise.
I remember a time when they knew me. Their hearts were pursuing me and my tenets. Their minds were set on things above instead of things right in front of their eyes.
I am more than a “touch”. I am more than a feel-good moment. I Am that I Am.
We are far from God – the American Christian church.
Scrolling through my Twitter timeline awhile back, I came across a story that is an example of what I mean.
I’d heard of Willow Creek. Knew it was a “big” church somewhere back East. I live in the Pacific Northwest so when I say back East, that really is East to me.
I didn’t know the pastors although I’d heard of the former pastor before. I’d never heard him preach. All I could recall was the name Willow Creek. Knowing that it was a mega-church, I clicked on the story.
To sum up, the #MeToo movement has come to the church.
For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17
All things hidden will indeed come to light. Whether that light is here on earth or when we stand before God, well, that remains to be seen. But, we won’t be able to hide our sins forever.
Sex and the church can often be a taboo subject. The fact that #MeToo was prevalent in the church comes as no surprise.
Why, you ask?
Last time I checked the church was filled with a bunch of sinners. And that includes in church staff, teachers and leaders. Yet, we – me included – put church and religious leaders on pedestals.
The late Christian artist, Keith Green:
My dearest family in Jesus…why are we so star struck? Why do we idolize Christian singers and speakers? We go from glorifying musicians in the world, to glorifying Christian musicians. It’s all idolatry! Can’t you see that? It’s true that there are many men and women of God who are greatly anointed to call down the Spirit of God on His people and the unsaved. But Satan is getting a great victory as we seem to worship these ministers on tapes and records, and clamor to get their autographs in churches and concert halls from coast to coast. ~ Keith Green
Why do we idolize them? Why do we put anyone on a pedestal?
Because that’s what we do in American culture. Far too often, even though we are Christians, we bring that culture into the church.
March 2, 2021 – As I said in the beginning and by the #MeToo story above, I’ve been meditating on this thought for awhile now. I wish I could say I had an answer or solution to this issue, but since the first thought, it’s only gotten worse.
Our human need to worship comes from God. We were made in His image. We were made for Him. Because of sin, however, our sin, we stray from God…even in our worship.
We worship people more than the creator of this world we live in. We worship our own intellect over the One who spoke it all into being. We worship our spouses, kids, careers. We worship athletes or even our hometown team. We worship our favorite actor, singer or, dare I say, politician. We worship fame, fortune, identity and followings.
We worship everyone or everything but God.
When the pandemic began and early on in quarantine, I believe God gave me a word. Sounds silly to some that may be reading, but it is true. God had me share it on Facebook and Instagram.
Our normal was shaken. People were afraid. They were looking for something, someone that could bring them hope in the face of an unknown future.
We long for normalcy because we long for comfort and control. We don’t want anything to rock our world as long as we are comfortable and free to do what we want, when we want and where we want. From COVID to racism to police brutality to virulent political talk, 2020 felt like an uncontrolled tidal wave of…
April 12, 2022 – As I read my words above for the umpteenth time, I am struck by my arrogance. Not in everything I typed. But, in some of the words, I sense such arrogance and…self-righteousness.
Walking around the neighborhood with my dog today, I took a glance at Instagram. I’m a scroller, so I tend to just swipe, swipe, swipe unless something catches my eye. The first post I saw, caught my eye.
Where’s my white hanky that I can wave in the air and say “COME ON!”? Lord, Lord, that’ll preach…was what I was thinking. It was so in line with what I had been meditating on all these years about the church and that thing we call music or “worship” service.
And then I read the comments.
Some agreed, while others felt it was too generalized. Immediately upon reading some comments I started thinking “pride”. That’s the problem with today’s church: pride, self-righteousness.
Along came that still, small quiet voice.
As I listened and then reflected on Him, I talk-texted my reply:
Come on! This is definitely the type of quote that should prompt any follower of Christ to do a heart check. I don’t say that in a condemning way. I see it as someone who recognizes that I have been or can be someone who has set my eyes on the things of this earth rather than above. I believe we are in a time of reckoning. I believe we are in a time where we have to be very careful of what we say, think or even do. Not operating from a mindset of fear, but a mindset of empowerment through Christ. Lately, I have been seeing more finger-pointing within the church. God has been talking to me about this and reminding me that the spiritual battle we are in means I need to be praying for my leaders. I need to be praying for leaders in general. If that means I am on my face crying out and interceding for others, even those I disagree with, then that is what I need to do. – No, it may not be about “your” church. But, it is hard to ignore the current path that His bride is on. This is the type of quote that is a call to action. I welcome it!~Me, 4/12/22
We are in a time of reckoning in the American Christian church. I believe – and have believed for many years now that the underbelly of America has been and is continuing to be exposed. The same can be said for the church.
America was founded on Christian principles. For better or worse, this country’s leaders believed in God and His values. This does not mean that they were perfect. I, as a Christ follower is as imperfect as they come. But, just because I’m not perfect doesn’t mean I cancel myself out. God’s grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ, allows me to have a relationship with Him.
God is not a god of force. He will not force anyone into a relationship with Him. He loves us and wants us to choose Him and His ways freely.
He is not confined to any denomination or religion. His ways are higher, as are His thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). The ways we think about God or even the ways we do church…His ways are beyond what we can think or comprehend on our own.
What am I getting at?
The church, the American Christian church, isn’t nor has it ever been perfect. Just as I thought those many years ago, there are Christians who think they are perfect or better than others just because they are a “Christian”. Or, just because they go to church. They operated and treated others based on their thoughts, not God’s.
It has been that way long before America became a country. Pride, arrogance, self-righteousness is part of our human nature. Wanting to be better than others or the need to “be right”, both are part of our human nature.
When we operate in that mindset, knowingly or unknowingly, we are sowing seeds of mistrust, unbelief, hatred and discord or disunity. Each generation of Christians is sowing seeds for the next generation.
What we are seeing today is the result of the seeds sown by the previous generation. Christians, churches compromising who God is for status and growth destroy the credibility of who God’s church is meant to be.
Racism, gender, culture and political wars are all a byproduct of the seeds sown by previous generations. America used to be a Christian nation. At its core, it still is, but it is also one that, at its core, is full of pride, hate and self-righteousness.
May 22, 2022 – I sit here and read this post for the umpteenth time. I can’t help but wonder why I never hit the “Publish” button. The premise has been so long inside me, but I keep judging it as “not enough”.
It’s not good enough. It’s not scriptural enough. It’s not accurate. It’s overblown. It’s not something people want to hear.
It’s, it’s, it’s.
I’m working on another post at the moment. The topic is self-righteousness. It was spurred on by me, other Christians and non-Christians. We who post our disappointments, frustrations, angst or whatever negative emotions are the topic du jour about others, all while coming across as better than those who oppose them.
Every year, it seems to get worse. We don’t learn from each other because we don’t want to. We think we can handle it. We think we know better. We believe that we are right in all our ways. Should we doubt that we need only post something innocuous, and our cheerleaders come out of the woodwork.
Jesus is coming soon.
Whether we believe it or not, He is. Until then, the things of this world will only get worse. Especially if we choose to ignore the spiritual component in all of this. If we get caught up in the natural, the carnal, the flesh, we – especially Christians – will continue to falter at all levels, be it pastors, leaders, teachers, parents or whomever.
Jesus is coming soon.
What’s happening now doesn’t surprise Him. It’s not knocking Him off His throne. In fact, He is allowing things to play out as we “corporately” allow. God is allowing the underbelly of this world, this country in America, the underbelly of the church to be exposed. And He is allowing it to be exposed for one reason.
He is allowing pastors and leaders to be exposed for their sin and unfaithfulness to the office He placed them in. He is allowing churches to be shaken from their man-made foundations. He is allowing people to have their worlds rocked in order to remind them their faith is in the wrong place.
God created this world. Humanity screwed it up. God cares about this world. We are His creation. We screw it up. He cares about us and who He created each of us to be. Creation, life, matters to God.
All that we, as Christians, see going on right now is a reckoning. Here in America, we are facing a reckoning. Each generation of Christians has made choices that have contradicted God’s design for creation, either the earthly creation or in humanity. The result is what we see today.
Jesus is coming soon.
Will He find us fighting for our sin? Or will He find us fighting on our knees in spiritual warfare?
None of us are perfect or “right”. None of us. The longer we hold on to our own creation, the more likely He will find us not ready when He returns.
The things of this world, be they ideas, political platforms, beliefs, ways of life will continue to be a noose around our spiritual necks the longer we don’t heed the call.
Ready or not, Jesus is coming soon. And He is calling His people to His righteousness, not our own.