Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Take a look in the mirror

It's become rather trendy for Christians to criticize the Church.  Most books, articles, blogs do well--attract a bunch of readers--if they take a pound of flesh in their biting critique of all things ecclesial.  (One opportunistic blogger feigned surprise when her blog post, which explained why she "left the Church," received so many hits.)  The so-called "emergents" got the ball rolling.  Now, it's headed downhill so fast no one dares to get in the way and stop it.  Can you imagine what it would sound like to defend the Church today?  Shrill, self-serving, obscurantist, proud, denial.

But, here's the problem:  when we criticize the Church we're criticizing ourselves.  I don't hear that sentiment in most of the self-appointed prophets who are out to bash the Church.  It sounds to me more as if they think they're pointing out the faults of others.  "Those people over there--they are the problem." But, the truth of the matter is the "other" is always "us" in the Body of Christ.  You're never going to straighten out the people who "don't get ________ right" (fill in the blank, "gospel" or "community" or "faith" or "doctrine" ad infinitum, ad nauseum).  Why?  Because our faith, our gospel, our doctrine, our community is a shared experience.

Think of it like this:  we're family in the Body of Christ.  Apply the same concept to your biological family.  Do we ever believe we're going to "straighten out" our brother?  Sister?  Parent?  Even child?  And, don't we automatically know that when we're criticizing our family we're criticizing ourselves?  Due to our shared DNA we own up to the fact: "You know, I got that from my father," or "You're just like your sister."

At the risk of sounding sentimental, our shared spiritual DNA in Christ should make us all own up to the fact that we belong to each other, whether we admit it or not.  That should inject a little humilty into the critical conversation about the failings of the Church.

After all, we are talking about ourselves.


Herebutnotyet said...

Great word! Keep the blog entries coming. They are always a great read.

Darryl Schafer said...

For the sake of disclosure, I'm as guilty as anyone. That being said:

An honest question in light of your previous post:

What's the difference between bashing the church and critiquing the tradition to which one belongs? People (I?) tend to act as if everyone else is guilty of the former while they are doing the latter.

Rodney Reeves said...


Humility (which most of us "prophet" types are not good at).

Re: previous post, of course you saw what I did. Rather than whine about the situation, why not celebrate the challenge? I.e., instead of complaining (see how biblically illiterate we are), do something about it (read the Scriptures to those gathered for worship).

In most cases, I see a lot more whining/protesting than encouraging/investing.

Darryl Schafer said...

Right, right . . .