My Views on Church: Leaving & Re-visiting

This is my 3rd post on this site and I think some people are getting the wrong idea, I am criticizing something I am familiar with and not really shooting down the basis of Christianity in general. I am critiquing the current interpretations and some of the fallacies or shortcomings I see.

I think people who leave the church leave for reasons and and not just because they turned their back on God yet very little has been done to eradicate that misconception. People, along the way, have become disheartened with church structure, politics, services, leaders, and a bevy of other things but church folk can chalk that up to mere sin, all the while staying ignorant to what that person may be experiencing while in their midst. Don’t get me wrong ‘you can’t please everyone’ but, and including myself, I have seen tonnes of sincere church folk walk away due to irrelavance.

I don’t think half the people I seen leave church left for belief reasons, not core beliefs anyways, but the way church was functioning around them. The system itself has plenty of short-comings and the biggest being lack of originality. They seem to be telling people this message ‘we are created equal & the exactly the same’. They are mass producing the same service, structure, politics, rules and making clones while at it. People know they are unique and the same old, same old day after day can breed apathy. Then that apathy results in them leaving looking for more in life because they stagnated while in the midst of followers, followers who kept up the status quo because they were taught never to question. Some did, some left, and some maybe made mistakes but they never stayed mundane and stagnant.

People have left over the fact they couldn’t question and where did that come from…the belief other denominations were wrong and they were right. Thus questioning meant you were entertaining beliefs that may lead down a path of destruction…when in reality it leads down a path of consciousness of ‘better knowing than not’. Finding out the cookie jar they said was filled with danger really had no teeth at all. These divisions that exist in the church only enhance one’s skepticism and are actually forbade in scripture rather than encouraged, but then again the Romans weren’t capitalists.

The church structure isn’t based on nothing but a hierachy and that structure comes from capitalism, or at least that is it’s latest form. If you look at the barebones of the church you will find a Pastor (CEO) and a board of directors (elders) who define the form of the church for the congregation, very similar to a business telling it’s employee’s what they will & won’t abide by. They raise money to raise more money to keep the structure ‘alive’ all the while not noticing they focus attentions on a building and not the people so much. They try to bring more people under their wing, a type of recruiting (evangelism), then getting them to pay money to God (tithe) all the while not telling them that money is used by the board to define the role of the church. I am not saying they don’t need money to survive but they sure don’t need to hide behind a non-profit church, and to some point God, to run this business. It’s a spade. People are all ‘gung-ho’ to be a part of the social programs a church will offer but once they see the nature of the institution some can get turned off, especially when that money they divulge into the church never feeds the poor in their neighborhood. Then to add insult to injury they find out even the poor churches operate under the ospices of the ‘middle-class’ lifestyle and what’s important to middle class folks is taken as a priority. Thus we spend huge dollars on a good building, big spiritual events, musical equipment – soundstage, and missions in other countries. And they can’t see how people not ‘middle-class’ are turned off in droves.

Spirituality has taken the form of music and that music is usually something soft and simple. That music never asking the tough questions in life but as long as it points god-ward then ‘we all good’. When people represent music that is questionable then they have to be silenced, namely if their message doesn’t seem to be spiritual. All the time not knowing some real people are asking real questions in their music that represents the ‘real’ state of the day. I can see why people want nothing to do with closemindedness.

Then this question of spirituality comes into play, what is it? The church seems to push a view that worship (to music) is the only type of spirituality or at least that’s what they emphasize. You even have youth events and concerts devoted to this and it can be found in practically every service you go to. What they fail to realize is that music is merely a mood projector, it helps with the mood no matter what you are doing or no matter who is singing, just as long as you like it. When you actually discover true spirituality you’ll definitely know. It comes about when you learn how to forgive, open your mind to God (not just your ears), when you give to the poor, help someone because they need it…spirituality actually requires actions…there’s the tree and there is the fruit too. I mean this is taught in churches but it’s on the back-burner to a good musical experience. People want music they can get it anywhere, true spirituality that means doing good deeds for others seems to be a lost art. I understand leaving after you figure out this facade.

The last thing is the rules. There are just too many and a lot of them come from inaccuracies being taught in churches of what God requires of you…I call it the measuring stick. Churches actually preach about perfection and that it can be attained, so that in keeping the common folk down they give them a goal they can never reach, thus ensuring they fail and realize they need this structure. When in reality perfection in the gospels is to treat all people equal, whether they be in the church or outside of it and that is it’s context. The problem is the church is giving rules to get to heaven that even the most holy can’t be sure if they are going to hell or not. The by-product of these rules means judging by all and for all. They figure ‘if I am barely making it then I better make sure others know they aren’t and better shape up.’ We give everyone an unrealistic measuring stick that they in turn use on others and chaos ensues. Soon everyone is judging everyone and it’s the norm and widely accepted. People cannot take these expectations and leave, I for one can’t blame them, you need some self-assurance from somewhere.

So what am I saying? It’s all psychology. Church isn’t a bad thing when it can have a meaning in the present and address current issues. The trap is the system can’t be changed and by trying you force yourself out, the old guard will not budge. My call is that people try to change and challenge these structures for the sake of their neighborhoods and for the poor around them. I came from poor and the church allowed me to change, I am grateful. But in the end it also pushed me out the doors for becoming relevant. I say church is a good entity as long as you realize the church is the people and building and systems will fall, humans are forever.

Mr. Robertson’s Neighbourhood

When last I wrote I wrote on has religion gone wrong? Well, I heard an answer and it was Pat Robertson. This person has made some of the most erroneous statements I ever heard blurted from a Christian’s mouth.

Firstly, he called for the assasination of that Venezuelan president named Chavez. He just straight out said America has the capabilities to seek this guy out, kill him, and replace him. I know Robertson may not agree with Chavez’s perspective, but kill him, that’s a little extreme don’t you think…even for a Christian. Since when does Robertson have the right to call someone a dictator, he’s not the U.S. Government and this is taking Christian judging to a new record low. If he was following his beliefs, and not some patriotism, why would he be this concerned with a dude from Venezuela? Robertson, pray about it dude just leave the ‘killing in God’s name’ to others.
Secondly, Robertson comes out and calls the severe stoke of Ariel Sharon a curse from God upon him, reasoning that people that mess with God’s land (trying to divide it and bring peace) will face this type of thing. I am not exactly sure where Robertson is getting this from but it seems kind of warped to think God would strike down a prime minister of Israel for trying to bring peace to the Middle East? Bush is bringing war to the Middle East and God hasn’t done nothing to him. Robertson, you’re getting too carried away with the judgements now, you are not God, you do not speak for Him, and you may be mis-interpreting His word.

The problem with this whole scenario is that Pat Robertson is making a fool out of himself and bringing God into it also. He is, in a way, making God’s name a bad thing to be associated with by his own words. Do I think God would have Chavez killed?…no. Do I think God made Ariel Sharon have that stroke?…no. Robertson, in thinking he is speaking for the Christian majority really speaks for himself. To top it off he doesn’t know it. Now that’s an ego trip.

Instead of guessing what’s next from Robertson’s mouth I can see his blind faith has led him to something that I think is wrong, nationalism and faith. In wanting Chavez dead he mixed up faith in God in faith in America. The Americans do talk tough with Chavez and Robertson thought he would jump the gun…however he was wrong on this one. He simply mixed up faith with politics…see where that’s going to land you. In his second ordeal, he wasn’t being American Nationalistic but Jewish Nationalistic, referring to the Old testament for a scripture about the Holy land and what happened to Ariel Sharon. His understanding is that God will defend Israel (the holy land) and since the Jewish race is the chosen race and Ariel Sharon tried to hurt this race, a stroke hit him. Now that’s just absurd and pretty much out of context with Christian theology but hey, he’s Pat Robertson, let him say what he wants.

And this is the problem with some modern strains of Christianity…nationalism. Thinking God resides in a state, or a race of people…and from that race or land comes a tie with God, a bond if you will. Now maybe the Holy land does have a bond with God, I don’t know, but what I do know is that America doesn’t. Pat Robertson, come down off that high horse and hang with the common folk.