Monday, November 10, 2014

Worried about The Church

I'm a lousy blogger these days. One of the reasons I put myself on this schedule to blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday was to force myself to write, to sit and think of something to say three times a week, to discipline myself into the mental activity of examining what God is communicating to me on a regular basis and articulate it to the world so I am held accountable.

Then I went "back to work." And I find all sorts of reasons to justify skipping a blog day. Some good reasons, some wimpy ones. I'm a lousy blogger these days.

I keep a document on the computer where I write notes to myself about ideas that pop into my head here and there that I might want to blog about sometime. I read through that list the other day and had to laugh; there are some items on there that I can't remember now what in the world I was thinking about. C'est la vie. That brilliance is lost to the ages.

But I do notice a pattern to my little jottings. I'm worried about The Church. About The Church not being who we are supposed to be . . . and blaming the rest of the world for that instead of ourselves.

Several weeks ago, a teacher in a Sunday School class we were visiting made the comment that we need to worry less about getting prayer back into our schools and more about getting prayer back into our churches. AMEN.

Another item from my list: when Robin Williams died, a good friend of his commented that the remarkable thing about Robin was that when he was tired or frustrated or at the end of his rope, he didn't get cranky and irritable -- he got all the more sweet and kind. Gentleness was his default mode, the place he went when his mask was off and his guard was down. And I thought, what a stunning denunciation on The Church when such a statement could be said of one who very likely was not a believer but could hardly be said of anyone in The Church. I don't think I've ever known anyone like that.

I was reminded this past week of the story in Acts about Paul addressing the Athenians at the Areopagus. He started by mentioning their many temples to many gods and acknowledging their obvious religious devotion. Then he pointed out their temple to "an unknown god" and offered to fill them in about that god they don't know yet. He approached them with gentleness and respect. He quote their own poets and spoke their own language -- not just the Greek language, but the language of education and intellectualism. He didn't berate them for being sinners. How often does The Church berate people for being sinners rather than gently and respectfully filling in the gaps they are missing?

Many in The Church are fond of proclaiming that God is going to punish -- or is already punishing -- our nation because of our sin. Abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity, drug abuse, etc. etc. etc. God's wrath is coming upon us, people!

Here's the thing, folks: I think there may be something to that. I think God may allow a level of destruction to fall on our nation . . . but it's not because of the sins listed above. God expects the unregenerated to sin; their consequences are already set. If God punishes the United States, I believe it will be for the sins of The Church. The Church whose first command from her Lord was to preach the gospel -- not morality, not "the Christian nation", but the gospel of forgiveness for and deliverance from sin. The gospel of a New Covenant, a new relationship with the God of the universe. If The Church in America had been serious about fulfilling the Great Commission in our communities for the last several generations rather than simply making ourselves fat and comfortable in our "One Nation Under God," we might not be having to deal with all these other sins.

Revival starts with us, Church. With you and with me.