Monday, November 20, 2006

Church Thoughts

When Tina (my baby sister) and I started running together we needed a goal. So being the clueless newbie runners that we were we signed up for a half marathon in Southern Minnesota.

We got there bright and early on a windy 34 degree day to sign in, just to realize that not only was it going to be our first time running 13.1 miles, but we were going to run it through thick woods and up and down huge hills. The whole race had about 1 mile of flat ground. We had no idea what we'd signed up for. Nothing like starting your new hobby off with a bang. I wanted to lay down and cry. We went ahead and ran it, but it was not pretty. We limped in (I limped, she trotted) to the finish line like sixth from last or some equally horrific thing like that. You should have seen those people, they were not messing around. 200 insanely fast runners and eight idiots who think faaarrr too much of their own ability.

Worse than that though, was that the church that was putting it on was one of those churches that stands for nothing and has no interest in anything resembling the way Christ taught us to live. I won't bore you with the details of how easy it was discern this. But it was. I forget the name of the church but I am pretty sure it was something like Church of the I am okay, you are okay, it is about me, let's not ask each other to be decent people or do anything difficult. Catchy name. I know.

It so bummed me out that I paid $25 to enter a race that was going to benefit the church of nothingness. Sadly, it seems that much of the "christian" church today has become this watered down, it is about me, wishy-washy kind of a place.

We live in a world of moral relativism. Whatever you feel is right, is right. There is no absolute truth. Do what you want, when you want. If it feels good, do it. That is what we are up against. A world that says there is no right and wrong and a world that protects almost every group before they will protect a follower of Jesus Christ.

It bugs me beyond my ability to express it well. So I won't try. I wonder if it is not our own fault for buying into the world's way of thinking for so long. Most of us go to church to see what we can get out of it, instead of what we might be able to offer in the way of using our own God-given talents. It's all about us now. We got all watered down and now it is easy to dismiss us as just another "religious group."

There are plenty of things that discourage me about Haiti. One thing that doesn't is their acceptance and respect of followers of Jesus Christ. Their passion in their churches is touching. They are not ashamed. In the USA you have to tiptoe around all the rules, be careful not to pray in the wrong spot, don't offend ... blah blah blah, etc, etc ... That is not true in Haiti.

Unlike the race I ran in Southern Minnesota, I KNOW what I signed up for when I decided to follow Christ. The work to be done is big. Defending our faith in a positive and loving and uncompromising way is our job. Changing our churches into something that resembles Christ and the way He told us to live is no small task.

-Tara (Who has not very much in the way of exciting Haiti news or stories to share this morning.)

The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God, give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost!
-A.B. Simpson

Therefore, since you have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding you, lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and run with endurance the race that is set before you, fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

It's not about the church meeting individuals needs, but about individuals joining the mission of God's people to meet the world's needs. -Christianity Today, January 05