Friday, April 16, 2010

If Only I Didn't Know Now What I Didn't Know Then!

Have you ever had a time in your life where you read or heard something and you just wish you hadn't heard that? Your life would have been just as good or maybe even better had you not been given that information? It's happened to me a few times. Most often it has been when I find out something about a friend or a family member that surprises or disappoints me. Then I find myself trying not to think less of that person, but it's hard because now I know something about them that changes how I feel about them. I can't help but think that I would have been much better off not knowing.
Well, that's how I feel about modern, organized religion. During the decades that I have been involved in the church, I have found out so many things about the church that I wish I didn't know. ( but then I wouldn't know the truth, would I? More on that later).

• I wish I didn't know that people were asked to leave the worship team because they smoked. Or were divorced. Or hadn't been baptized. By the way, they were asked to leave by a leader that was on his third marriage.

• I wish I didn't know that two families had left the church because the secretary had misspelled "turkey" in the Thanksgiving bulletin.

• I wish I didn't know that new believers were denied the sacraments because they hadn't signed membership papers.

• I wish I didn't know about a church that publishes a quarterly paper given to all the members that shows how much money each member gave that past 3 months.

• I wish I didn't know about a group of "Christians" who publicly attacked a church because they showed the lyrics to the praise songs on the wall instead of using a hymnal.

• I wish I didn't know that when we are encouraged to "give back to God" with our tithes that what that often means is that God needs a new sound system or copy machine.

The list goes on and on, and we wonder why people won't give Jesus the time of day? I mean what the he**?

I believe it was Ghandi that said " I like Jesus Christ very much, it's his followers I don't care for." (paraphrased). Ghandi probably wouldn't like me very much either, but I can live with that because he's not the one I'm trying to impress.

I don't know how many times through the years that I have been told that there is no need to look for another church because they all fall short of what the church is supposed to be. There's the truth I mentioned earlier. All churches are flawed, and some are just flat out wrong.

So what do we do? Not go at all? Maybe, but I don't think that's the best solution. We need the fellowship of other believers. But if a church is more concerned with political correctness, cultural relevance, or what I call the 3B's ( building, budgets, and butts in the seats) get out of there my friend, get out. That's not what Jesus is about. There are many alternatives like fellowship meetings in your home or a coffee shop or a restaurant or park. Or you can find another church, but be aware, if you are in search of perfection it's going to be a long search. No church will ever be perfect as long as there are people in it.

I want to close this by addressing three separate groups of people.

First, I want to say something to the folks that have been going to church for a long time, which I am a part of. STOP IT! We need to look around us and see the perilous condition of the world we live in. People need Jesus and we're driving them off because of what they wear or look like? Or their taste in music? Or their version of the bible? You know what? Those are "man-rules" and have no foundational basis in Scripture…none! Let's stop playing church and start being the church.

The second group of people I want to talk to is all you new believers. CAUTION! Don't let yourself get caught up in all this institutional, religious crap. All you need to do is pray, read God's word and live like Jesus. Anything else is unnecessary. It may not be essentially wrong, but it is unnecessary.

The third group of people I want to say something to are you folks who may be considering looking into this Jesus that us "religious" people talk about so much. To you I say…. DON'T LET US SCARE YOU AWAY! Contrary to what some Christians will tell you, we are no better than anyone else. We are dumb sheep in need of a shepherd. We are sinners who have made the same mistakes you have, probably even worse. But we are saved! And I want you to be saved too! You see, Jesus looks past and through all the sin, and mistakes, and stupidity of His people and LOVES THEM ANYWAY! No one, not even his well meaning followers can separate you from His love.

I'm not encouraging you to never attend a church. I would never do that. There is great teaching that goes on in some churches, and there are some wonderful people to be found there. But often it is mixed with or even overshadowed by "man-rules" That's not Jesus. Please don't judge Jesus by the actions or character of his people. No one would ever come to him if that was the right criteria.

So go ahead and check him out, kick the tires a little bit. He'll show you what is important and what is not. One day Jesus is going to come back and clean up this mess, heaven will be the perfect church, and you can be a part of the wonderful reward he has planned.
It's like Red Bull For The Soul!


Megan said...

I really enjoyed reading this - the statements so sad but true the more I learn.

Big Prime said...

hey garry this is Brian wales. saw your page and i like it. there are things like that wish i had never seen or heard about. it is very sad the way this country is headed. god bless

Anonymous said...

hey garry this is Brian wales. i saw your page and i like it. you are very right. i wish i did not see some of those things or here about them. quite sad. god bless man