I Believe… (The Church)

OK, first post for the “I Believe” series…

thought we could move in slow, before we start talking about speaking in tongues, women in church leadership, and Calvinism

I Believe…in the church

I believe in the entire idea…churches of every kind, every size, in houses, warehouses, buildings with steeples, in schools, theaters, and store fronts.

I hear people say all the time: “the system is broken”

The system isn’t broken, the people in the system are broken

Church is like anything else…put a bunch of people in one room together, and at some point the fact that we are prideful, fallen, wicked sinners is going to expose itself.

Truth is, people quit church, blame church, and accuse church, when the problem isn’t the idea…the problem is them…the problem is people

Church is just an easy target for those of us who are fed up with living in a broken, sinful world…and the part we play in it

I am not saying that church is perfect.  Far from it

Especially in the west, church is painfully inept, painfully prideful, painfully self centered, and consumerist.

But the doesn’t mean the idea isn’t perfect…

to take a group of people, all redeemed, all restored, all new creatures in Christ, and put them in pockets of every community in the world as the physical, tangible, observable manifestation of the truth and love of Jesus

Al Queda has ripped the idea from the Bible, and created a terrorist group that is impossible to destroy…if you defeat one group, two pop up in place of the one you destroyed, while at the very same time ten new, unconnected groups are created in the next nzip code.

its genius!

Problem is…well you

and me

The church isn’t the problem, the system isn’t broken, they aren’t the problem…I’m the problem

I want to be right

I want to be comfortable

I want to be entertained

I want to be free to do what I want

I want to… (the list of “I wants” could go on and on)

Here is what I have found: People (including me) want the benefit of a biblical church without the bummer of actually being part of that church existing.  We want the benefit without the time, sweat, and tears

If you don’t like the church you are at…find one you do

If you can’t serve at the church you are at…find one you can

and if after ten or fifteen attempts you still haven’t, if may not be the churches, it may be the “I wants”

I know the church is a mess…I just think it is a beautiful mess…

Rather than throw stones at it, I want to help heal it…

But that doesn’t start with you, it starts with me

That doesn’t start with them, it starts with us

Please, we do not need one more book on how much the church sucks…we get it, we know…

we need 100 more books on how the church can be what God envisioned it to be

At the end of it all…if you hate the church, you do so in direct opposition to the perspective of Jesus, who loved, died for, and gave Himself to the church

To be grieved is different than hate or even indifference

I think Jesus is grieved by the church in the west, but He desperately loves her, and would never give up on her

I know the list of those wounded by the church is endless…I HAVE BEEN WOUNDED BY THE CHURCH!

I know countless people who have a church story…I HAVE A CHURCH STORY!

I hope that  we can realize, that the church isn’t the problem…the idea, isn’t the problem…its actually the solution

When the church is what God describes it is an agent of redemption, of restoration, of truth, of hope, of grace, of love…

I believe in that

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5 Comments

Filed under Journey

5 responses to “I Believe… (The Church)

  1. Mary Clare Clevenger

    I agree with you Tim in that we can no longer continue to blame the church for our floudering faith and reluctant commitment, but I also think there is reason to be disappointed at the current state of the church. I was taught early on in my Christian walk to deny feelings; fear questioning; and suppress anything that can not be neatly explained. And there is- albeit unspoken- an expectation of what a Christian should or should not be. For example, I would never say aloud at my church that I actually liked Obama, despite not agreeing with all of his policies; or that I believe in global warming; or that I am currently unsure about my feelings towards homosexuals. (Yeah, it is sin; but I am no longer content to say that it is something that can be overcome with prayer. What if it cannot? Don’t they also have a place at God’s table?) I believe too many Christians try to hide their faults, and repress their true feelings, because they are afraid- afraid of what their fellow Christians will think. (I know I am.) For fear that they will be rebuked, and their faith called into question.

    • TOTALLY AGREE! In that regard i would say that everything you described is an example of problems in the church…and the antithesis of a biblical church. I am not saying we should just grin and bear those issues. Just the opposite. My concern is that many of the prophetic voices who are trying to address these issues are leaving the church rather than staying and leading the church. Historically the church has relied on these people to course correct itself…

  2. Dan Clevenger

    I agree with Everything my wife just said except the Obama and global warming thing. I still don’t get those!

    In reference to your comment, I like the “idea” of the solution but practically I do not see it. If your underlying assertion is correct then none of use have really ever been in a “biblical church”. I mean the stuff I used to believe and what I thought was biblical seems woefully ignorant at best. And I believed it at a time where I was sure God was “working”. While I understand the theological answer to the prior statement – I still find it practically hard to accept.

    This has caused me to become something that is one of the things I truly fear about myself – indifferent.

    Having laid that foundation your first blog did move me to reevaluate where I am at. My fustration is not that I do not agree with your statements – it is that I do not know if I have the endurance to fight that fight. The concern over the “time, sweat, and tears” is legitimate in my mind. I believe that is one of the reasons that parachurch groups are not only popular but effective – you do not need to deal with demoniations, etc., in those groups and they accomplish a focused agenda.

    I guess I agree with your thoughts but am feaful with experience as to what making a “bibilical church” will cost.

  3. Jim

    Couple of thoughts, yo:

    1. We were taught in Sheepherder’s Skool that every dispensation ends with the failure of the steward and the removal of the stewardship. The rapture is supposedly the removal of the Church’s stewardship due to her failure to be the body of Christ on earth. Granted, since the failure ultimately marks the beginning of the Church’s marriage with Jesus it might be hard to call the rapture “Jesus giving up on the church”, but you can’t deny that she failed so badly God decided the earth was better off with out her. If you still believe that dispensational stuff, of course.

    2. I believe in a universal Church and a local church. Local churches being geographical manifestations of the universal Church. #1 leads me to believe that Jesus will eventually “give up” on the universal Church and Revelation 2:5 leads me to believe that Jesus is prepared to “give up” on local churches as well. It is interesting that there is no longer an “evangelical” church in Ephesus. For those who might want to argue that, we can at least say that the church Paul (or Apollos – boy, that would be a fun debate) started at Ephesus and the church John was addressing in Revelation 2:5 is no longer in existence. Did Jesus remove their candlestick? What about the other churches of Revelation 2 and 3? They are no where to be found. Obviously, I can’t say definitively that Jesus “gave up” on these churches and removed their candlesticks, but we know that Jesus is prepared to do it and that does lead one to believe that he would do it. After all, if churches are bodies, bodies eventually die. And resurrect in glory. Which is nice.

    I’m not saying that all those disappointed by the church should abandon the church. There is no plan B; there’s only the church. However, I think it’s possible that the church is screwed up beyond repair. Nevertheless, there remains alot of expansive leaven in the bread and there’s still wheat among the tares. So, we got that goin’ for us. But the church still sucks. And yet the church still accomplishes the kind of good that no other institution on earth can accomplish. However … so on and so forth.

    “The church is a whore, but she’s my mother” – St. Augustine.

    • yea man…i guess I am a work in progress on all the dispensational stuff…alot makes sense, but alot doesn’t…

      i think my main point matches the last paragraph…
      Jesus may at some point give up open the church, but to date, and until he does, I think we can assume there is still the chance that the church MAY be able to be reformed, or at the very least do good (on a level only it has been able to, as you said)

      I think I simply want to be optimistic, and acting optimistically. Of course I see the failures, and of course it is possible that we are beyond repair…but throughout the Bible when God’s people cry out to Him, He hears and forgives them. I want that to be possible

      Love the quote…think it may be exactly how i feel

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