I realized I had been a christian for over two decades, I had no concept of who Jesus was as a person and no idea how I could change that…p23
A buddy of mine sent me a link to this PDF Book called “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore”. he raved about how it changed some of his views about how the church functions.
Well I’m a sucker for a free book, so I downloaded the PDF and began to read, and I’ll admit I was having a hard time getting into it.
Then the third chapter hit me, hard.
The whole book seems dangerously close to my story give or take the time frame and a few supporting details, and after the 3 chapter I was hooked in. I then read it continuously for 3 days and finished the whole book.
You may be worried at this point that this is just another sucker punch aimed at the church, filled with Pastor-hater one liners.
Well your wrong.
the tone of the book is NOT that church is bad and people shouldn’t go, there are lots of good healthy churches that help people grow. I can testify to this with my story and people I know.
It questions the institutionalized Church
From wordreference.com institution > an establishment consisting of a building or complex of buildings where an organization for the promotion of some cause is situated
From Dictionary.com > 1. an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, esp. one of a public, educational, or charitable character.
2. the building devoted to such work.
From Wikipedia > Institutions are structures and mechanisms of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals.
To Many Hats To Wear
I think being a Pastor is a no win situation, there are as many successful Pastor as there are Lottery winners. That’s the harsh reality of ministry.
Not that I put that blame on the Pastors themselves, I believe most people who go into ministry are well intentioned people who love God and want to help other people connect to God like they do…..that was certainly my motivation for going to bible school, and wanting to go into ministry.
I think a huge portion of the problem comes from the pressure of our society. Dictating what what a church must look like, what success looks like, and the over all importance placed on visually progress.
I am concerned with how we train pastor’s. There seems to be such a disconnect of pastor who understand the history of the church. Yes..I said history. I know that doesn’t sound spiritual or sexy but if you don’t understand history, you are condemning yourself to repeat it. and Lets be honest, some horrible things have been done in the name of the church.
We measure the value of our Pastor on whether they can keep us awake for an hour on Sunday morning. We have put this enormous pressure on their shoulders to entertain us. That’s why you see so many churches switching to the video and media format. Churches are being driven by the pursuit of technology in order to retain their customers. That’s not a typo.
The Line Between Business And Church
One of influencing factors of why I left the church was because I felt like a customer instead of a member. and that Sunday Morning was a product with a shinny package, instead of the word of God.
This race to make churches more relevant is creating huge monstrous programs in the process. Programs that’s Pastor don’t have the man power to over see, and people start falling through the cracks.
Members then become cogs of a giant system, and Pastors start saying things like ” we need you here”. Because it’s impossible to fill all the volunteer spots in the nursery, and children’s church, and someone has to run PowerPoint, and the sound system, and teach the new life group, and help set up or tear down after service.
Any human system will eventually dehumanize the very people it seeks to serve and those it dehumanizes the most are those who think they lead it….p106
Again it’s not churches, or pastors, or technology that’s bad.
The Power of The Gospel
Don’t you realize the most powerful thing about the gospel is that it liberates us from the concept that God dwells in any buildings….p41
That’s why Jesus cleanse the temple. What was suppose to be a place for people to connect to God, had been turned into a place to make money. It created a caste system.
Those who were poor and needed God forgiveness, and those who become rich off the poor. It was their job to teach the people how to connect with God, and yet they used the temple (the church) to provide them financial security and power over the laymen.
That’s why Jesus’ death is so threatening to those bred in religious obligation…p51
One of the problems that Hebrews deals with is the idea that Christians don’t have to go to the temple and make sacrifices anymore. It was so programmed into their minds they couldn’t imagine having a relationship with a God where they weren’t required to do something.
How to Be A Good Christian
Isn’t it pretty clear here what being a good Christian is, and isn’t a big part of that not to make an waves or ask questions that make people uncomfortable….p49
I can tell you story’s about questions pastors don’t like to hear. In fact I didn’t have a lot of problems in church until I started questioning. Experts never like their authority challenged.
That’s the danger of religion. It only exist as long as people think the church is the authority. The result is of course that the church has to make people dependent on their leadership. I think it makes far to many Christians passive about pursuing their own relationship with God.
Religion survives by telling us we need to fall in line or some horrible fate will befall us….The whole system has a hook in it….p74
Are You Threatened Or Challenged?
I imagine this post will make more Christians mad then challenged. In my opinion the root of being threatened is either you feel unqualified in your position, or you have a belief system, a dogma that you have to defend to the death.
I wish it wasn’t that way, but the institutionalized church forces it’s members to defend it right or wrong to the bloody end. People don’t think straight when they are to closely attached to an institution. It’s like having a blind spot while your driving, it’s not necessarily your fault, but at the same time your accountable for what happens.
Churches get messy, I felt like I was having a divorce when I left my church. It was emotionally hard. I had been there so long and developed so many memories.
This is the point where I say you really should read book, you can down load it here. I know hardly anyone will take me up on the offer, but if you do read it, I love to have a conversation with you about your thoughts.