“We do it this way because we’ve always done it this way.”
I find it interesting (and disturbing and sad) that the only person who has talked to me about staying in church has used this as an explanation.
We need to keep this going because it is tradition.
I remember seeing a psychological study about peoples’ reaction to smoke coming under the door. There is a subject in an office waiting room with other people, but the other people are part of the study. Smoke starts to come under the door. The subject sees it, but doesn’t alert others, and doesn’t leave. This happened time and time again. When asked later why they didn’t react to it, the answer was that they didn’t want to cause a fuss. So, for the sake of keeping the peace, everyone will die. They’d rather be quiet than get everybody moving towards safety.
If we are in a car that has gotten off the road and is headed towards a cliff, we need to jump out of the car.
If the church goes one way, and Jesus goes another, we know who we must follow.
I’m finding it amazing the number of people who are on the same page here. People are leaving church not because they haven’t heard the Gospel. It is because they have heard the Gospel. They have heard the message to love and serve, and they are seeing a huge disconnect. They are seeing hypocrisy. They are seeing that church is self-serving rather than self-less.
The tithe goes to keep up the building and pay the staff. It doesn’t go to feed the hungry or clothe the naked.
The ministers have all the power, and they don’t teach the members how to be ministers.
We need to all think for ourselves. We all need to read the Bible for ourselves. If what the church says does not line up with what God says, then we are obliged to try to reform the church. Or leave. To stay and pretend that everything is fine is to give support to something that we know is wrong.
Sometimes things start off ok, but then they get sidetracked. I read about a women’s prayer organization that is for Anglican women. The charter said that no money would be raised in the name of the organization. Yet, years later after it was founded, they take up dues. They collect money for various scholarships for their members. I’ve heard that there is no proper accounting for this money. So, the start was good, but it got off the track.
Plus, I’m against anything that doesn’t allow someone membership based on something they have no control over. Only women can join? What about men who want to pray? God calls everyone.
This is like saying only men can be priests. Yes, I have a problem with that too. But I also believe from my studies of the Gospels that every person is called by God to know and love and serve God. It isn’t for the few, the proud, the priests. It is a gift that is given freely to all by the Holy Spirit.
We pray for soldiers who are at war. Yet we are told to love our enemies, and “thou shalt not kill.” There is a huge conflict here. We are praying for the safety of people who are doing something that we know from the commandments we are not to do. This is crazy-making.
Sometimes something is so broken that it can’t be fixed from within and you have to start all over.
God is constantly talking to us. He never stopped. It behooves us to listen to God talking in all things. God didn’t stop talking when the Bible was written. You can find truth everywhere.
But don’t take my word for it. Read, pray, think on your own. Stretch your horizons and boundaries.
Don’t be afraid. Love. Perfect love casts out all fear, remember?
Church shouldn’t involve money, or a building. It isn’t a place. It is a gathering. Look up the meanings of “ekklesia” – the root word for church. It is pretty surprising.
I don’t know what church should look like yet. I’m thinking I should send my tithe money to a charity, like the American Red Cross, or the Nashville Rescue Mission. My Sunday mornings are changing. There should be time to read the scriptures and time to pray and listen to God. I know there is a lot of healing to be found in a small circle of people who are willing to be open and honest with each other.
But I know I can’t be part of something I feel is wrong. And I know I’m not alone.
Let us pray together for the strength to return to the beginning. Let us examine everything in light of Jesus’ teaching to Love. What practice shows love? Do it.