Church – What Is It Good For? The Proverbial ‘Axe To Grind’

Taken from Mind over Matters – a Naked Pastor Production.

And if by chance it was a wacko, that does nothing to future your rage against the Church of Jesus.” (Fishon)

He is a wacko – which makes him not a good example (I admit) – but he was one portion of the example – an extreme point. Most people in churches are not like Fred obviously – likely not even 1% – but some have those extreme feelings so let’s not forget about them.

As for ‘rage’ or ‘anger’ – I am not mad at the church whatsoever. I am stating what I see as the obvious holes in community in the church and that’s about it. And yes, it is from my perspective alone…people do not need to agree with me – but if I am making sense on some level – it would also be wise to not dismiss it altogether.

I am guessing you have not even visited one percent of the churches in North America. Please tell me if I am wrong. You make such a bold statement—-when imperical evidence do you base your statement on?????????” (Fishon)

You are right – I haven’t. But I have visited a lot of churches in my time – and if a lot of churches keep on looking the same from province to province and state to state – then I can only base my conclusions on what I know and see.

I find the same services, same messages, same structures, and same concerns. And although I may not have visited 1% of all the churches in Canada or America – what more should I need to know – even surveys only hit a sector of society and not the whole thing? I should go on what I have seen from churches – this is honest and real – beyond that i can guess and hope for the best – but that’s all supposition.

Don’t hear me to say the church should not help in some of the areas you suggest, but it seems as if you are calling for the Church to be a huge social service organization” (Fishon)

I am only asking they check their focus – are they about the preaching the words or living them? The church is a lot of talk in my opinion (and it’s good talk mind you) – I even think it is a culture of talk in some ways. My concern is the church has left some of the basic ideas of caring for humanity behind – both within their community and outside it. That’s a fear of mine I see in churches – they perceive they do the works of God – when Matt 25 (sheep and the goats) leaves them open to sharp criticism.

Now I know some churches do get out there and do a lot of good – Fishon I have never denied that. I am making the hypotheses that most churches do not focus on this…and the hypotheses next to nil do these types of things for their local community to build the community in a solid body. I am open to being proven wrong on the whole issue – but I have not seen one myself. I have seen nice churches and all that – some that function without community in my opinion and yet give a lot – and others that give nothing but have community. It’s just rare to see a chuch community that is both a close knit community and also very giving.

If there is a few – show me their websites – I will go and visist (via the web) and ask questions.

However, a little googling will find for you stats on what churches in America give to the poor, the hurting, the unfortunate, not only in America, but to the World. Find something else to complain about.” (Fishon)

My biggest complaint is concerning that exact thing – we have money to give to the rest of the planet but we can forget our own backyards. That’s a the problem I have with it also. It’s not like America(s) do not have sick, poor, needy, depressed, elderly, widows, single mothers, etc…that need as much or more help. Yet they get the short end of the stick in my opinion – which churches care about other countries on the planet except their own.

But the biggest complaint I ever here is – what exactly are churches doing that is productive then? The message is cool – but without actual works it is dead. One could make the argument the church is in fact also dead (in some regards). What has the church done for societal ills in the past 50 years exactly? Things have been gettig worse and not better – and for as ‘good news’ as the church proclaims – what ’s so good about the change they are not making in overall society?

Think about it – there are at least 250 churches or more in a big city. They are all over the place from the suburbs to the inner city – and can meet the moral and societal needs of many people in that city. To me, it looks a great web of churches that can change society for the better – and help make their city a much better place. Ideally, in 50 years a huge change in the morality of society should have taken pace.

However, this is not the case. Crime rates rose, prisons got filled, violent crime rose, divorce rates sky-rocketed, abortion became an accepted practice, single mothers have risen astronomically, poverty is something that went from small to problematic, etc. Society, for as much churches it has within it, has not gotten better but worse – and by far – worse. So, if the church is so grand and awesome an institution that is represeting God and all the glory therein – why exactly is society getting worse and not better?

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7 thoughts on “Church – What Is It Good For? The Proverbial ‘Axe To Grind’

  1. Fishon – Response #1

    SocietyVs,
    You make some very good points about some of the ills of the Church. However, the illness of the church does not negate the wonderfull things that have happened because of the church.

    I am only going to address this one point you make:
    YOU: So, if the church is so grand and awesome an institution that is represeting God and all the glory therein – why exactly is society getting worse and not better?
    —–That would be like saying that because the new beginning Church at Jerusalem did NOT have affect on the Roman Empire, therefore something is wrong with it.

    Jesus and the Bible writers address the fact that they live in a Dictator government. And we are not told that it is the job of the church to overthrow or improve the society, culture or government. The Bible tells us how to live in a less than perfect world, and at the same time, teach Jesus, help the widows and orphans, care for the brotherhood, and make a difference one person at a time.

    It seems to me that you view the church as needing to be a machine that takes care of all [many] the social ills of the world. But the Bible does NOT teach that. We are not even told to try and change the moral climate as an organization. It is one person at a time.

    It is not true that the social, moral, and poverty level of a given Country is in directed porportion to the health of the church in a particular Country. Again, look at the first century church. It was strong and powerful; powerfull, in that it was making disciples.

    To say that the church is inaffective and unproductive [pharapharsing your words] in changing the morals, ethics, and socical issues of the day, therefore it is not doing its call, is to say that because Israel continually rebelled against Jehovah, He was weak and inaffective.

    And lastly, the problems, sin, and breakdown of America is not because of a weak church, it is because of a sinful people who do not want to follow the truth of God’s Word. I maintain, the true Church of Jesus Christ is doing well. The phony, lego church that does not follow Christ’s teaching, but most of America sees, is a garbage dump.

    I believe that you see the Church as the catalist and the huge organization that is to solve much of the World’s ills. It is not. It is first and foremost about saving individuals, one person at a time. Are there other things to do? Yes. But they are not number one. And if we do number one, well, the rest falls into place–in as much as is possible. But, SocietyVs, Rome lives on in the World, and will not come to an end until He comes back.

    fishon

  2. SocietyVs Response to Comment #1

    “However, the illness of the church does not negate the wonderfull things that have happened because of the church.” (Fishon)

    I don’t think it negates the good things that have happened because of the church at all – I admit a lot of good things have happened. I am proof that good things do happen in the church (and my family) – and I am thankful for that. But if I want to give back to the church(es) I either attend(ed) or am affiliated with – there is very little I can do – outside giving a tithe/missions field. The programs of my interest do not exist at this point. Reason being – too social work in nature I guess? No clue to be honest.

    “That would be like saying that because the new beginning Church at Jerusalem did NOT have affect on the Roman Empire, therefore something is wrong with it.” (Fishon)

    I agree to a certain point. It is true Christianity did not change that empire – but was rather disliked to hated by it. However, in due time (270 years or so), the faith actually becomes a central piece of the empire – changing the face of the empire and it eventually fell.

    I would also say the Christian faith challenged many of the Roman practices and outright slammed them as shameful – it challenged the Empire every step of the way until it changed. Not by voting mind you – but small/public faith gatherings did that. I really don’t see that in the church these days – that type of power or moral outrage. Maybe the same problems don’t exists here?

    “But the Bible does NOT teach that. We are not even told to try and change the moral climate as an organization. It is one person at a time” (Fishon)

    But the bible does teach the church is the ‘body of Christ’. I would ask what was Christ’s mission and what did he do with his time? We can say the church is only about personal change – and that is grand. However, neither is that mentioned as the role of the church. The church is a community of people, not just individuals. Both aspects are needed for church to reach it’s highest heights.

    The fact democratic societies are getting worse does not speak well of the church in my opinion…where churches are openly and freely allowed to exist and speak their perspectives – namely on morality. Problem is, where the church and society begin and end is so inter-twined it makes it hard for the church to say anything productive to society.

    This is how it has been throughout the 20th century – the bloodiest period recorded in human history – and the church was there the whole time in huge numbers – saying next to nothing and sometimes in tacit support of the endeavors. The church usually misses the boat with it’s critiques I noticed…aiming them at issues of some importance – but neglecting the true evils of this planet in those critiques.

    Nazi Germany is a classic example of this – an empire that went basically unchallenged by the church – all over the world. It should have woke the church up to this kind of ill in society but it still didn’t. The church in the West is weaker than a chain linked fence in a flood.

    The church we are part of never speaks out against certain business practices in society (some are outright evil in my opinion), nor about war (as long as their country is not the one in the critique), nor about the environment (also ruined by big business), nor about poverty in countries so rich they could solve that problem, nor about the defense budget and nuclear build-up (which will most likely be the destruction of this planet), etc. The church sleeps at the wheel when it comes to actual evil – and picks piecemeal battles of things that will not upset their own gov’t. I think the church is scared of it’s own gov’t to be perfectly honest – so it tacitly walks hand in hand with it. It’s not Rome – in that you’re right – it’s worse – no one is saying anything that matters.

    Paul made an interesting point in Ephesians about ‘the powers that be’ – true evil is actually raining down from there.

    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

    “But, SocietyVs, Rome lives on in the World, and will not come to an end until He comes back.” (Fishon)

    I agree – this is true – but who is Rome in this world? But even if Rome exists it wasn’t like Paul and others did not challenge those empire ideals when they ran counter to being a Christ-ian. I think the church in general has a long way to go if it wants to be anything like the church in the first century – namely with it’s stands concerning business practices, the environment, war, capital, etc. The church, like everyone else in society, benefits of the backs of capitalist enterprises in 3rd world countries – and it tacitly allows the war to be seen as something redeeming when it is nothing like that. If you ask me, the church is still Rome’s little moral guardian.

  3. Yeah – this is an epic – but a great debate in my opinion – stretching my understanding to new depths and having to re-think what it is I know or think about church.

  4. not sure the full context of your conversation.. but as a minister (future one that is) i’ll be the first to admit the church is wack. people are hard and unpredictable. when put in large groups, there’s no telling what they’ll do! but that’s the purpose of the church. to remind the “whole” to love themselves, their neighbor as themselves and God (or something beyond themselves if one happens not to believe in God). simple as that. churches lose sight of this simple mantra and get lost in causes, systems, and minister personalities. not saying that these can’t be good things, all churches should have a cause, a systematic way of going about things and a good leader… but without balance, what good is any of it?

  5. ** believe that you see the Church as the catalist and the huge organization that is to solve much of the World’s ills. It is not. It is first and foremost about saving individuals, one person at a time. **

    This only works, though, if salvation becomes all about making sure people end up in heaven. If salvation becomes broader, and deals with resucing people from war, slavery, poverty, prisons (of all sorts, both mental and physical), hunger, sickness … then the church does hold a responsibility to address those issues.

  6. “why exactly is society getting worse and not better?” (societyvs)

    The world is no different than it was hundreds if not thousands of years ago. We live in a world of duality. Some areas get worse and some get better and it fluctuates all the time. Just look at your own life and im sure you will see that process.

    The church is just a microcosm of the rest of the world. Actually I think in truth the church is the world and the people in it. We are all Gods children regardless of the title we choose to put on ourselves.

  7. I echo Luke, but would also like to add that it is important to remember that the Church (all of them) is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints. It should be no wonder that jacked up people (who are most aware of their need) would gather in search of hope. Also important is the need to appreciate the improvement that the Truth has made in their lives. While Joe may be pretty jacked up, or a jerk, it could also be a night and day improvement from the cesspool he was living in.

    That said, I agree that there are quite a few who do not practice what they preach, so i hear where you’re coming from.

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