Friday, May 5, 2017

Arrested Development Churches

A lot of Christian leaders have speculated as to why Church attendance has been down.  There have been various explanations, from people becoming more spiritual and less religious (whatever that means), to not attracting the attentions of men.  And while these are all good explanations and certainly do merit some exploration, allow me to suggest an alternative: that modern American churches don’t stand for anything of importance to the common man.

I mean, they do tend to stand for something.  Jesus obviously, and God as well.  Sometimes they’ll stand for the Holy Spirit.  They’ll stand for love, mission work to third world hellholes (which often times become low-rent vacations), the poor and downtrodden, provided they keep their distance, and sometimes for people of faiths which are opposed to our own.

But when they are taken to task, when they are held to matters of importance for their own countryman, time after time they fail them.  It’s as if the collective whole of the Church decided that they had nothing to do with culture, moral values, or politics and retreated into their own safe spaces.

These days, most pastors seem to be content writing generic sermons discussing God’s love, the greatness of Jesus’ sacrifice, and maybe a story or two from the Old Testament.  Often times, these sermons are recycled without the congregation noticing because the dumb masses are short-sighted and stupid.

Meanwhile, you never hear a pastor stand at the pulpit and say that homosexuality is still a sin, that wives are the ones who are more likely to initiate divorce, often for stupid reasons, or that usury is greed.  They don’t say that abortion is murder, not even the conservative churches, for fear of losing their plate and pledge for that year.

Maybe it’s because their service to God is for sale to the highest Earthly bidder.  But maybe it is a symptom of a much deeper problem.

Growing up I had a pastor whose only real hard stance on anything seemed to be women good on Mother’s Day and men are bad on Father’s Day.  Beyond that, he didn’t feel the need to preach much substance from the pulpit.  Instead, he left the harder issues to the various Bible Study groups.

But those Bible Study groups could never tackle serious or important issues as far as I could tell.  We just more milk and no solid food.

It’s like the whole of the Christian church suffers from arrested development.  We can’t seem to grow up, become adults for Christ and fight back against the powers and principalities of this world.  Instead, as long as the money’s good, the Netflix is streaming, and the wars are far away from us, we will continue to grow fat, stupid, and ignorant of God’s Will for us.

And now our children think being gay is okay.  That gender is a spectrum.  That sex is not a sacred joining of two married people under God but just a fun thing to do with whoever, whatever, or whichever you damn well please.  That women are goddesses and men are pigs.

Indeed, I often find myself in more agreement with society by watching criticism from atheists or pagans on YouTube than I do from evangelical Christians.  Maybe it’s their religious outsider status that allows them to critically see things in a different light.

It is time for churches across America to stand up for more than just milquetoast messages on love, peace, unity, and diversity.  We need to stand for what is right.  The enemies of God are in the open, exposing themselves daily and still we are silent, thinking that we’re alone or that it’s just the way of the world.

Fight.  Fight or die.