Further reflections on my “You keep using that word…” post

Wow. Welcome to my page. I didn’t really expect this much attention when I posted one of my older posts (“You keep using that word…”) on the Facebook page of “Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented”. I’m grateful for the positive comments and support. I’m glad that people seem to understand where I’m coming from.

Some don’t, and I wanted to address that. I want to make very sure that the point of my post is understood.

There is a term that comes to mind. It is “jingoism”. It can be summed up with the phrase “My country, right or wrong.” It is a blind allegiance to an idea, even if that idea is going totally in the wrong direction. The same can be said of the church, and Christianity. Some people have said I’m attacking the church, and Christians, that I’m being judgmental. I’m not doing either. I’m pointing out that this idea of “my Church, or my Faith, right or wrong” is dangerous. Religious jingoism has gotten us in a lot of trouble.

Are we hanging on to our idea of church because we love church? Or are we ready to honestly examine how we think of church because we love church? I’m in the latter half. I’m not alone.

I want the church to be what Jesus meant for it to be. It often isn’t. It is because I love Jesus that I want the church to be alive, and flourish.

If the church can’t handle a little honest criticism, then it needs it all the more.

Church needs to be about action. We are Jesus’ body in this world. The healing of the world will come through our hands. We are the ones who will teach and nurture and encourage. We are the ones who will bring forth the Kingdom of Heaven.

I’m frustrated when church has become a place to hang out. I’m frustrated when church has become a social club. I’m frustrated when church isn’t about taking care of others more than it is about taking care of its own.

I would hate to think Jesus died for us to get together and sing a few songs on Sunday and then go on our way. I’d rather church be about doing something real with our time together.

When people think of Christians, they need to think of people who want to help. They need to think of people who love unconditionally. They need to think of people who give of their time and talents and treasure to bring forth the kingdom of heaven. Sadly, “church” and “Christian” is all to equated with judgment and exclusiveness. We only have ourselves to blame for that.

I wrote “You keep using that word…” as a wake-up call to Christians. It is to let us know that we have strayed from the path.

I also wrote it for non-Christians, to let them know that anyone who says they are Christian but they don’t act in a loving way, isn’t. That perhaps they should give us a second chance. I almost walked away from Jesus before I even got to know Him, and it was because of Christians.

Pointing out where we have made mistakes isn’t judgmental, in spite of what a few commenters said. It is pointing out hypocrisy. It is saying that our actions don’t match our creed. We just aren’t doing it right.

I want us to do it right. I want us to do it right so much that I write about it, for free, in my spare time. I’m passionate about this.

Keeping going the way we’ve always done it because we’ve always done it that way will be our death.

The church as we know it is dying. Many people have written far better and far more than I have on this. I’m not the first to point this out.

But this doesn’t mean the end of the church. It is just the end of the church as we know it.

And that is a wonderful thing.

We can start again.

We can have church that welcomes everyone, male, female, gay, straight, and from every race and culture and class. We can have church that encourages every person to be a minister, and to use their skills.

Or, this can go like the way of Martin Luther and John Wesley. They tried to reform the church, to make it line up closer to what Jesus meant, and they were ridiculed and ignored. Some listened, and separated off. This isn’t ideal.

I want us all to wake up.

Church isn’t about a building or a minister, or vestments or candles or stained glass windows.

Church is about us, the people of God, honestly serving God by serving His people. His people are everyone. Everyone. Not “the chosen”, not those people in church already, but everyone. Every single person.

I like the Gandhi quote about how he loves our Christ but not our Christians. Gandhi also said “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” I’m not attacking church, or Christians. I’m pointing out how we are falling short as a body. I’m pointing out that we aren’t living up to what we believe. I want the church to indeed be the Body of Christ, rather than a building where we hang out for an hour once a week. I want the Church to do what Jesus did. Some congregations do, and that is awesome. Some people do, within congregations that don’t. I also want people who aren’t Christian to understand that the people who are the loudest about their Christianity are often what I have seen called “Christianist”. They like the idea of Christ more than Christ. I want better for us. I want the Church to be a force for good. I want to call to attention the Christians who would say Gandhi is burning in hell because he isn’t Christian.