Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Church is stupid, or so they say

It turns out that Sports Church Snohomish has its own MySpace page (tip - if you want to reach people under the age of 30, a MySpace page probably has to be part of your ministry). DJ Rabe also has a blog, and one of his blog posts explains, from a theological perspective, why ministries such as Sports Church are necessary, despite what some may think. Here's part of his post.

Not long ago, a friend and I were sharing the Lord with a man in the lobby of a hotel. This man told us that his faith in God was wavering. As he continued sharing with us, he mentioned that he had recently visited and/or attended five churches in the local area. After sharing his many frustrations with his church experiences his said something that shocked me. He said, "Church is stupid!" Being a Christian, my first thought was church is not stupid." In contrast, the church is an important part of God's plan of salvation and expressing His love toward us. My second thought was, "What could I do in this moment to help this man to see the church from a different perspective?" My third thought was one I couldn't even believe I asked myself, "Is there such thing as a stupid church?" Now I know that third thought was a bit on the edge but remember I'm sitting right across from a man who is searching for genuine Christianity and had recently attended five churches near his home. So why then was this man sitting before me saying, "Church is stupid?"

Two full days after sharing Christ with a stranger in a hotel lobby, I found myself unable to shake this man's comment to me that church is stupid. I think it was just hard for me to see the word stupid and church right next to each other. That word "stupid" just kept bugging me! Oddly enough, the word stupid had never really sounded that harsh to me until I heard it said in front of, and connected to the word church. In fact, I admit to being one who has done stupid things, said stupid things, and had numerous stupid thoughts. Even though I felt that I and everyone else knew what the word stupid meant, I decided to just look up the word stupid in the dictionary. The dictionary defines the word stupid as lacking intelligence, lacking common sense, dazed, unable to think clearly, a word used to express irritability or boredom. Have you ever irritated in church? Have you ever felt you lacked the intelligence to understand what was being taught? . Have you been bored in church? I don't know about you but after reading the definition of the word stupid, I can better understand how an unbeliever would come to the conclusion that church is stupid, Honestly, even being a believer, I have experienced these feelings during church many times! Let's be honest, without a real, relevant, and genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ it's not too far fetched to think that church is stupid.

In life, we all have to come to our own conclusions about what we believe or don't believe. With that being said, my personal conclusion is two-fold, 1. Church is not stupid. 2. It is a reality that many people have the perception that "Church is stupid." This perception is not only a common one, but is creating a real and active attitude that is rapidly becoming an epidemic! I believe God is calling us to reconcile people back to Him no matter what it costs us or how weird or fanatical we appear. Instead of turning a blind eye, we should rise up and take the perceptions of the people God has called us to reach seriously and accept the challenge of demonstrating true authentic Christianity.

Now I will grant that it is possible to make a church "relevant" and to lose the essentials in the process. Yet if one is committed to the essential message of Christ, one has to make sure that his or her church is not "stupid."

Now are there stupid churches today? There was at least one stupid church yesterday. Come to think of it, John writes of a stupid church:

Revelation 3:14-22 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

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