I often think about just how far the impact of western Christianity has had on peoples lives. On one had there are incredible stories of redemption, people whose lives have been transformed from a dark and desperate place to a bright and hopeful one. Yet on the other hand there are sorrowful stories of people who have just gotten tired of what these places called the church are selling, and these are not all people who have abandoned faith in God or Jesus’ work. These are people who have said I am not sure I want to participate in this organization, because it seems pretty shallow or self-serving or pointless.
I say “places called the church”, because I am not sure that many expressions really fulfill who and what the church really is. They may have perfectly good intention, but they lack a true sense of what Jesus really expects of people who follow Him.
See today you have those who have realized faith walk away from others who have realized faith, and we have been wrestling with this problem for a long time. We often ask: “what do we need to do to keep this relevant?” I am not sure we will ever stop asking this question, and I am not sure that we should stop asking the question. The problem that I see raising its head among western Christianity is that young leaders in the church are asking: “is it worth it?”
I can tell you personally that I have and still often wrestle through this question. There are times when the darkness creeps in and the jungle attempts to overtake me.
I find myself angry, at people, at christian culture and historical christian figures.
Then I realize, it really is worth it.
The Church is worth fighting for.
While I often feel as though we are in the middle of another babylonian captivity, I am liberated by the Gospel. I am see pictures that some of us have not been taken captive, but have clumsily infiltrated the captors and now work to liberate the captives.
Western Christian culture has created an incredible jaded generation of people. So much so that a beautiful hope that we have in fact have in the Gospel, a hope that says we don’t have to live a certain way any more, has been taken away. That hope has been replaced with a lifeless and ambiguous thing that people perceive to be the church, and really doesn’t look all that different from some starbucksesq corporation.
An organization that talks a lot about life, hope and acceptance, but really has this undercurrent of consuming as much of the market space possible to achieve the goals of the corporation and stockholders.
This is not what the Church is suppose to be.
The Church is not the purveyor of spiritual goods and services.
The Church is the manifest people of God working in the Gospel for the good of the Kingdom. The Church is made up of disciples who make disciples. The Church is made up of people who were dead, but were given life. The Church is made up of people who will die, who will sacrifice everything because of something bigger than anything they can perceive.
The Church will not fade away, it will not die because it is the bride of Christ and He protects it. We need to find true meaning in what it means to be the Church. If God’s people can accomplish this then the Church in the west can find great significance in its work in the Gospel.