Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Business as usual.

I saw this as I drove around, trying to acclimate myself somewhat to the City of Reno, and it immediately brought up some questions like, "What kind of church was this?", "What happened?", "Where did the people go?", and "How long did it take for the Gospel to lose it's power and for religious duty to set in?". As I pondered these things today, I came to realize that for many of the churches peppering the American landscape, the stark reality is that they don't look much different than this bank does. Many churches treat Christian faith like an exchange of goods and services. You come in, deposit something of value, get sound advice from a professional and hope that you earn a return on your investment. So the question is "Are you surprised by this church-bank conversion?" I'm saddened for sure, but surprised, I am not. Now obviously I didn't know this church personally, but I do know the Gospel, and I understand the cultural landscape of Reno pretty well. What inevitably happens in every church that stops proclaiming the Gospel is that first the mission goes, then the giving goes, then the community goes, and on and on until there is no longer a gospel people doing gospel things for gospel reasons, but a people who revert to "business as usual" by just coming, consuming and refusing to serve or give themselves to any task that is not about them. See, the Gospel is the opposite of "business as usual", and the church stands and falls on the Gospel. No person, idea, funding or persistence can keep it alive, and eventually everyone will just give up, because they no longer have anything to fight for. So pastors, do you live, lead and preach like your building a business, or are you receiving a kingdom and building into that? Christians, why do you come to church? do you come for an exchange of goods and services, hoping to increase your spiritual pay-off, or do you come to sacrificially love, serve and give for the sake of the Gospel?

May our churches never look like banks, but like hospitals for the sick, families for the orphans and refuge for the vagrants.


openupheaven said...

Thank you Jordo for these challenging thoughts. :) Definitly something we as believers need to take responsibility and watch out for!

Anonymous said...

Dear Roadside Monument,

I bet 99% of the big words you use are not comprehended by your potential readers.

The other .5% are already followers of Christ and may have some insight into what you're saying.

The rest (.5%) are busy thumping bibles and putting "Don't tread on me" bumper stickers on their whips.

What am I saying? I don't know. At least you have something to say.

I leave you with a verse from the book of Four Minute Mile:4

"I'll cry until i can't see the whites of your eyes for two more years we'll be old enough to know better young enough to pretend
this is the last of my letters...Amen"

May the light always guide you, and lead your path.

-Brother Monet-
CEO of The Family Values Institute of Higher Power Physics and Learning, Idaho.

like.a.cannon said...

Brother Monet,

It looks like we were cut of the same cloth. I'm curious as to whether or not you know me, but that is a moot point I guess...

So, I have a few questions.

What "big words" are you referring to? I really don't see any words that aren't common vocabulary except maybe "acclimate". And are you saying that .5 percent of the "big words" I use are followers of Christ? That's what it sounds like.

Did you mean "99% of your potential readers won't comprehend the big words you use"?

Do you mean in your second point that those who read my blog and are Christians already know what I'm going to say so it's just white noise?

I thoroughly enjoy the company of skeptics and thank you for reading my musings. If you ever desire discussion on these matters, feel free to email me.


Anonymous said...

This post just about brought me to tears. I realize this is months after you posted it, but you've really made me stop and think about my life and my faith.

"No person, idea, funding or persistence can keep it alive, and eventually everyone will just give up, because they no longer have anything to fight for." --> I've just about reached the point of giving up, but you've reminded me of an important point. Persistence means nothing if you don't know what you're seeking and if it's solely based in habitual gestures without true commitment to the Gospel or desire to really know God.

Thank you for reminding me that the Church is more than a building and that the Gospel of Christ is anything but "business as usual."