Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Churchianity] Focus on Issues

Posted by Lex Fear on June 24, 2007

5 Issues the church is too concerned about

CULTURE VULTURE: The Environment. Sure we should be smart and not drop litter, we should do what we can to reduce our individual waste… but this is one of the latest examples of the church jumping on a cultural bandwagon rather than seeking to make a difference in peoples lives. Plus, if more people did their research, they might discover that there’s not much we can do about global warming, it may even be part of God’s design for the planet. Have you noticed how nature is always moving and shifting through various seasons? It’s is only human beings who want to stay in place, prevent change and establish foundations. Not that, that is bad, but we should realise nature does not ask our permission before it changes.

BIBLE BASHING: Gay Rights. Of course, as a Christian if I was to have sex with man, I would be committing a sin. However this would also be the case if I had sex with a prostitute. And being a married Christian, if I was to have sex with another woman other than my wife, I would also be committing a sin. Why does the church focus on one sexual sin when protesting moral decline? How many Christians are divorced and remarried? Aah but there’s extenuating circumstances… violent spouses etc… we should be sensitive and understanding. Then likewise, we should be sensitive and understanding to homosexuals. It should also be noted that where God is concerned, it is only the church that should be subject to this kind of moral law. But the predominant question is this: Why shouldn’t homosexuals be free from prejudice?

BIBLE BASHING: Abortion. Another morally unacceptable choice, but again what right do we as Christians have to impose our view on the world. Why simply tell someone something is wrong without explaining why, and offering a better way? Explaining the importance of the sanctity of life to someone who doesn’t even believe in accountability to God is going to be futile unless you find humanistic arguments to back-up your case.

CULTURE VULTURE: Mass Marketing and Media. It tends to be mostly in charismatic circles but the church seems to be lately obsessed with multimedia and releasing the next worship CD. Worship CD’s are cool, they give you something to sing along to in the car if you feel like it. Multimedia is a useful tool, but it should not form the whole basis of your evangelistic strategy! I know a friend who had decided to host a fun, musical and entertaining evening as part of an outreach to the local community. He was considering what would be a good venue that would most likely attract the crowds. I suggested a local popular pub or hall. He eventually went with the church building. Why? Because the equipment was better. But how many unchurched people are going to feel like spending their Saturday night in a church? Sure the building is modern and warm but they don’t know that. Most peoples idea of a church is bingo-night with the over 70s not Saturday night live with Jools Holland. Also, why can’t an outreach involve alcohol? Most people can be trusted to behave themselves and pubs are already adept at handling the odd drunk.

CULTURE VULTURE: Customer Service. As evidenced by the growing mega-churches in not only the US, but Australia. It’s not just about worship anymore, it’s about entertainment value. Of course there’s nothing wrong with offering a tea and coffee time after the service. Offering services to the local community such as a mums & tots, counseling or coffee shop is brilliant. Equally churches that hire and provide buses to the community for poorer people who do not have cars to bring them to church on Sunday is a great. When the bus idea devolves into a golf-cart for people walking from the car park on a Sunday morning (as I have witnessed in one church), it goes from being a service to the community to a service to middle class church goers. A sort of ‘customer service’ rather than meeting a need. Is there such a thing as going too far? Customer service coupled with mass marketing above are both products of consumerism and western business models (which are more concerned with turnover than lives), which I have touched on before.

5 issues the church should be concerned about

INJUSTICE: Predatory and Exploitative Systems. There seems to be an unwritten law in the western hemisphere of the church that anyone who runs a company or business is successful and THEREFORE God has blessed that person and THEREFORE that person is a righteous person who is beyond sin and wrongdoing. Which is why anyone who dares to challenge companies or authorities for moral and legal reasons is treated with contempt. How much more would the church be respected in the world if it used its influence to challenge systems that are anti-human. People do not exist for the law, the law exists for people.

INJUSTICE: Anti-immigration. Christians have an implicit moral duty to stand up for the immigrant, legal or illegal. In Britain today immigrants are blamed for much of the problems in society and vilified by the media. In respect to immigration, Christians should not feel obliged to comply with the law if it means immigrants being treated unfairly.

CULTURE SHIFT: Technology and Publicity. How will the multi-million dollar Christian music industry fare against the culture shift to in P2P and Creative Commons? Will they be taking legal action against their neighbour, or is it time for a rethink on those ‘rights’? Same goes for videos, books and Christian retail. Isn’t it time the church went back to basics when spreading the word? Do we really need Celebrians?

INEQUALITY: Institutionalised Greed. Many Christians make the mistake of associating capitalism with Christianity. Where that idea came from it’s hard to tell, since the gospel has its roots in sharing (P2P anyone?). Capitalism makes individuals rich, but has many ill side-effects for the majority: Accommodation seekers, blue-collar workers and small businesses, for example. Prof. Prabhu Guptara has published a couple of thoughtful articles on the subject of sustainability and institutionalised greed which are worth a read if you have the time.

INJUSTICE: Ubuntu. There is much injustice in the world today due to corrupt governments. Governments that desire authoritarian control over their people. As Christians we should pray for our leaders, but we should also hold them to account and make a stand against any policy that seeks to register human beings and make it illegal to exist without being registered.

5 innovative thing that the church should try

  • Open Source and Creative Commons – Actually try sharing the gospel instead of marketing it.
  • Stop spending money on expensive media projects and make a difference to ordinary people.
  • Look for a need that is not being met in the community, rather than jumping on the latest trends.
  • Protest against corporate irresponsibility and greed, rather than Jerry Springer: The Opera
  • Open up a high street shop and simply offer free help… anything, anyone.
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