What goes around comes around … there is nothing new under the sun … déjà vu … been there, done that … same shit different day… I have heard them all.
I think the institutional church made me dumber (and smarter) as the years went on.
I feel like when we as a society put “experts” on a pedestal, and when we sit passively in an audience to listen to the so-called “expert” in the pulpit, we tend to shut down our minds and stop thinking for ourselves. We take whatever the “expert” says as Gospel and go from there. This process made me dumber as the years went on. (This happens in schools and government too)
It was when I started to actually read scripture, and actually think outside the walls, that I became smarter, or wiser. My focus was on Him (the Body), and not all the goofy rules and regulations being spouted from the pulpit. I actually focused on the people in the seats and not the one on stage.
The “experts” focus on growing the Body in front of them. Numbers down? They need to change things up.
If you as a churchgoer have not noticed, the modern institutional church tends to run in cycles. A key cycle is every so often, the church management realizes the “body” is getting stagnant, and they could be losing membership and numbers. This typically comes as a sudden wake-up call and then church management realizes they need to place the focus on some other method, maybe switch back to evangelism and missions again.
The last 3 decades of my life has been such a time. We have seen the “church” growth movement, the “seeker-sensitive” movement, and now the “missional” movement. It is all the same shit packaged in a different way.
To be fair, each of these “methods” generally see themselves as something different. I guess to one degree or another they are, at least in regard to each of the “methods”. But at their core level, they are fundamentally the same: They are a reaction to a circumstance. As such, they seem more driven by anxiety and necessity than a proactive faith in the Gospel.
In the midst of this, the “church” has been fielding all possible strategies of “how to get people back into the church or the building.” This is where I call bullshit. That statement is a major problem in the world today. “Church” has become some sort of activity or event that church management wants people to attend. And that points to precisely the problem, where Christianity becomes something we passively attend rather than practice. This is a major concern to me and many others I have talked to that have moved along from being passive. We need to practice Christ! not passive Christianity.
The majority of attempts to get people back into “church” result in asking people to be passive consumers, rather than active participants.
Active participants are people who live in community together and love each other regardless of how they sin. It is to love one another.
Why should you listen to me or many others that are part of the Body of Christ, it is because we are no “experts”.
What are your thoughts? Bet you have never had a pastor stop the sermon and ask you that.