Wednesday, September 8, 2010

5 1/2 Ways to Receive Hate Mail and Upset Religious Folks

I have been thinking about what's important in church. I read the preface to a book where the writer gave a warning about his seemingly unorthodox approach to church ministry. I am a sort of unortohdox guy, so I kept reading.

There are things that seem to upset religious church folks, and the following is a list that could easily cause an uproar in the average congregation.

-1 Bring a tattoed and pierced teenager to the service. Church folks can get pretty confortable with the status quo. I used to bother me when a drunk alcholic would come to an AA meeting and disrupt it -n like they shouldn't be there for some reason?!. I guess some times it's easy to forget that we are there for every human that is seeking God. He loves them in the package they come in. Maybe we would grow more if more folks that were not like us showed up every Sunday?

-2 Start giving a tongue, or a prophesy, or offer a word that is on your heart at the service. It's so easy to be a spectator in church, yet God calls all of us to be ministers, what if we came ready to offer something each week during the service?

-3 Give money away instead of putting it in the basket. Wouldn't it be cool if we could just show up and try to meet the needs of someone that God shoewd us each week, instead of feeling obligated to put money in the basket or offering box?

-4 Tell someone that you don't believe being a homosexual is a sin. Isn't interesting that we treat different sinners differently? We let alcoholics, pedophiles and pornography addicts come to our churches without requiring them to change into something else. When will recognize that what were are is not a sin, and that it is what we do that is sin? We don't require alcoholics to become social drinkers, so why do we require homosexuals to become straight? Can't we just let Jesus deal with their sin the same way we have let Him deal with our sin? Does it matter if it is drunkenness, fornication or lying? Our job is to preach the Gospel and to disciple those that have made a decision for Christ, not try to change them into something they may not be.

-5 When someone suggests that you get together for coffee, lunch or dinner, ask the for a date and time. It's high time that we hold folks accountable for making invitations they are too busy, or too uncaring to keep. Pull out your Day-timer or Blackberry and set a time.

-5 1/2 Tell some one in church that you really don't like; that not only does Jesus loves them, but you do to... then ask their forgiveness for being such a dolt.

How about you, what is difficult for you in church?


Tracy said...

Saw your post title and decided I needed to read it since I want to avoid hate mail.

OK so the photo is pretty funny. But if I'm candid, I'd be uncomfortable if we had those banners up in that manner at our church.

I'm grateful that at our church, as well as two other local churches in our area, no one cares about tattoos or piercings. I've also never found others upset when they casually suggest we should get together and I try to nail down a time (of course I get extremely few of such offers; perhaps that's why).

The homosexual issue sure has been blown out of proportion on all sides. It's apparent that we're failing as the body of Christ on this one. But, to be candid, I don't have all the answers. Last night I had a really open discussion with 2 sisters in Christ who attend the same church as me about how we want to act as a church toward homosexuals. We started out agreeing that we hope our church is a place where a homosexual couple could come into the service and feel welcomed. As we were talking we all also agreed that we did not feel that a person actively engaged in the homosexual activity/lifestyle, or any other kind of lifestyle sin (living with someone outside of marriage, etc.), vrs messing up sometimes like we all do, should be in a leadership position. I think the point here is not if the person is a homosexual but it's if the person is actively engaging in that lifestyle. Then the question came up of if a person actively involved in a lifestyle sin who chose not to change and chose to insist that it was not sin, could become an official member of our church - and we were stumped. Actually we were rather certain that some of the literature in the membership class would keep someone in one of these situations from becoming members. And we felt that was right since membership is identification and how can we identify we a local group of Christians if we're in rebellion. The example came up that 2 of us knew men who'd left their wives, and while still married, moved in with women. One took himself out of church membership but the other (after being talked to individually and then with just a few people privately) was asked to remove himself from membership while the members still loved, reached out to, and maintained contact with him. But we had such mixed emotions in the issue;we want to be loving and inclusive, but we want to be honest and real and not act like something that God says is hurtful to our hearts is OK. Things aren't always so cut and dried.

David said...

@Tracy - well, it is a good debate. Thanks for being candid. Here is where I am at.

- I don't like the banners placed in that order either. And NO, it's not my church.

- I don't believe in church membership. If we are saved then we are members.

- I think we need to put the same emphasis on sexual sin as we do all the rest. Somehow it gets blown out of proportion. It seems hypocritical that would would allow a drinking drunk to come to church on Sunday, and not someone living with his girlfriend.

If they cannot come to the church for hope and healing, where can they go?

- It seems that we jump to conclusions way to quickly when folks fall into sin. I have met men that struggle with pornography on a daily basis, but we don't ask them to leave the church fellowship.

- We do have different standards for leadership. However; even leaders fail. It angers me that we don't have a better track for restoration for leaders and lay folks.

- If we preach sin, and not lifestyle, I think we are better off. it points to the specific action, not the character of the sinner.

Paul and Jesus were very clear what sin was - drunkenness, fornication, envy, and all sorts of sexual perversions. But the only folks that got a label for their actions were the religious folks.

Thanks again, for responding. You are way ahead in the debate, grace and love...

Tony C said...

You can do that with a Blackberry? Always learning something new here...

Intolerance of any kind (a.k.a. burning Korans, picketing gays and Free Will Baptist, etc.)is not our place. Christ called us to love and show the Father's love. He will be the judge and jury.

Things must be way different above the Mason/Dixon line. Our church s having an ice-cream social this weekend...just to get together and fellowship. Oh, and eat homemade ice cream of course. Ya'll come!

Brett Barner said...

I'm pretty sure my getting coffee with someone else and saying "let's get coffee" ratio is embarrassingly heavy on the just saying part.

David said...

@Tony - yeah they have fellowship stuff. It is not hard to get Christians to church, it is tough to get them to do some one-on-one.

@Brett - well, i have been there, and I am working on changing that that. Glad i am not the only one.

2SenseWorth said...

I have pondered this great debate myself... It's so important that we love people and don't judge, yet I'm not sure what I've really decided for myself on how far that theory should take the church's actions.
For example, if a gay couple shows up at church, yes, we should show them love, be glad they are attending and allow God to work... but what if they show up with the attitude that God loves me in my sin and I don't have to change? I really don't know what's right here. Should a time come they are asked to move on? or just keep teaching the truth and pray for them in hopes the Spirit will move on them?
In comparison, there's a huge difference when someone shows up to AA drunk and wants help, than if they show up drunk with no intentions of taking the steps given to see if they can be free, and maybe even don't want to change.
I don't know that it's a good thing to accept "out and out" sin with no sign of repentance or desire for reform. If we did we may answer to Almighty for coddling sin in fear of being "intolerant" at the risk of someone losing their soul because the truth wasn't being taught as an expected corporate goal as it is layed out in the Word. Just some thoughts, interested in others feedback.

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