Yep. The Church Does Suck Sometimes

Erik Cooper —  August 18, 2010 — 1 Comment

I’ve noticed an interesting, little phenomenon through the last year of consistent blogging:  people respond when I post my thoughts on the dysfunction, systematization, or abuses of the organized Church (and when I use words like “suck” in my blog titles).

That’s not difficult to unwind.

The Church is often deserving of criticism. And those of us longing to emerge from a predominantly cultural acceptance of Christ into a more vital, life-breathing relationship with Him, have had to take a long and honest look at what we’ve truly embraced.

We’ve had to point at it.  Name it.  Call it what it was. And often times distance ourselves from it.

It’s true.  The Church can be:

hypocritical

manipulative

money-hungry

behavior driven

backward

controlling

institutional

stale

abusive

self-serving

self-righteous

(fill in your favorite missing adjective)

And I don’t think pointing at the truth is unwarranted.

The Old Testament prophets violently confronted poor spiritual leadership.  Jesus Himself had more than passive insults to throw at the religious hierarchy of His day.

But it’s so easy to chuck stones at the institution. To critique the caricature.  To cynically slam the fundamentalist control-mongers.

(and let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun, too)

It’s much scarier to take a hard look at ourselves.

Here’s the deal:  I am the church. And so are you if you claim to follow Jesus Christ.  So perhaps we should focus first on embracing our personal responsibility to the Kingdom rather than just gleefully pointing at the Emperor with his pants around his ankles.  Maybe we should repent of our own dysfunction, hypocrisy, and control issues. Remove the “plank” from our eye so we can see clearly to help The Church at large.

Let’s continue to wrestle. To challenge.  To embrace the tension.  To call the spades what they are.  (I plan on it).

Let’s just always be willing to start with the me before we take on the we.

One response to Yep. The Church Does Suck Sometimes

  1. Thanks for reminding me, Erik, that I’m part of the problem … and hopefully part of the solution. Our pastor this past week preached on “phony people” this past weekend; it was an outstanding message. He mentioned the “speck” and the “plank” as you did and made a very insightful observation. Jesus never said we were not to help our fellow believer remove the speck from his/her eye; He just said that we were to deal with our own plank first. In other words, before we bring loving correction we must first check/evaluate/correct our own attitudes and motivations. Having first done so, then we are responsible to bring accountability, speaking the truth in love.

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