I have dreaded writing this blog post. Not only because of what I plan to write, but because I am unsure how to put what is in my heart into readable text. There are a few people who will read this and get upset at what might be said, and maybe a couple of “amen” responses. I am unsure, in fact, this first paragraph is me stalling even while I write. I have no clue how I will come off in text, I just pray that the reader will hear my heart.
I have to admit, being a Christian in the United States is a difficult thing to do. Well, I guess it is actually one of the easiest things to do; all you have to do is show up to a building once a week and leave some money behind. If enough people see you or know that you are going there, they will call you a Christian, you may not even have to change the way you talk, or live. On the other hand, being a Christ follower while living in the United States is a difficult task. It is way too comfortable to go to a big building with nice chairs and climate control, Sunday school and small groups, softball team and choir, and a grand entrance that bring a bit of awe as you walk in. Instead of dimly lit rooms, hard floors, hot and muggy air, and a back entry way so that people won’t notice you all entering in the same place. I am only going off of what I read and hear from people I respect, because unfortunately I have never been to see it first hand.
I am guilty of sitting in the pews. I am guilty of drinking the kool-aid. I have looked for a “church” based on what it had to offer. I have looked for the good preacher, children’s ministry, chairs, band, and the like. I was sold on the consumer driven “church” that haunts Christendom. I recently walked into a “church” that built a multi-million dollar facility with gaming systems that run over a couple of hundred dollars a piece, multi-media equipment that flat out impressed me, and a decor that rivals the nicest hotel I have ever been in. I have to admit, I was uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder what Jesus thought of all of this.
With twelve guys, Jesus changed the world. Why is it that there are buildings filled with hundreds of people every Sunday claiming the name of Christ, but the place where I live has the highest suicide rate in the state? Why is it that there are so many “Christians” but the community is still the same? I am not innocent, but I am convicted. Jesus sent us to be His witnesses to the world. What He instructed His twelve in, He instructs us in. What He commissioned them to do, He commissions us to do. What He empowered them to say, He empowers us to say. I believe in the fellowship of believers, but I am against what we have made that to be. I refuse to believe that the Lord is pleased in what He sees.
The incarnation of the Son of Man alone is a great example of how we are to live. Not to mention example set for us to follow in the life of Christ and His Apostles. What about the opening story of Mark 5, where Jesus takes His disciples across the lake to an unclean land, and walks up to a person that the unclean thought to be unclean. This guy who was taken over by a legion of demons, was looked down on by the people that Jews looked down on. This is who Jesus went to! He sends us not only to our people, but beyond the walls of comfort and security. Jesus has written on our hearts a powerful letter of redemption, love, and restoration, not to keep in a box, but to share with the world. All that we say, and all that we do is being read by everyone around us, and we have hidden that letter and written our own. Shame on us!
We say things like, “my church” and show that to be true. How dare we say it is “our church”, It is Jesus’ church, and He is in charge. When Jesus went to a place like this, He made the people inside want to kill him. When Paul went into a place like this He got thrown out. Why? Because the Holy Spirit cannot and will not be contained in a building. Jesus is the King, and just as He was sent among the people who needed Him, He has sent us to those who need the same. He has empowered us, equipped us, and deployed us to the world. Don’t get caught sitting in a chair, unless it is taking you to a place where people are in need of some healing.