Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Caging the Church

If you were to go to a zoo today you'd see some of the animals in enclosures with paths around the perimeters because they will constantly pace or walk around. Most people will look at this and find it kinda' neat and handy as the animals will often walk past the viewing windows repeatedly, getting up nice and close for everyone to see.

But what we don't realize is that these behaviors are signs that the animals are not okay.

Google it...

Why do tigers pace at the zoo?
Tigers, like all captive animals, can tend to pace back and forth as a way of coping with the stress of captivity. Due to stress, captive wild cats breed poorly, which is why it is hard to maintain population levels in zoos and also why zoos are bad because the cats are sometimes imported from the wild.

What is the meaning of Zoochosis?

Zoochosis is the term used to describe the stereotypical behaviour of animals in captivity. Stereotypic behaviour is defined as a repetitive, invariant behaviour pattern with no obvious goal or function.

Why do animals pace in the zoo?

Being in a small enclosure with little stimulation leave the animals distressed. Wild animals spend the majority of their time hunting and stalking prey over large distances. Being fed by zookeepers removes this normal activity. The animal has a natural drive to roam and hunt.

Why does an elephant rock back and forth?

When they are in captivity this is a sign of psychosis. This is brought on because they are not in their natural habitat and their needs are not being met. Mostly because of the lack of space to roam.

Taking a living organism out of its natural environment puts it under stress that causes it to function abnormally.

"The church" God speaks of in the Bible is a living organism, with a natural environment God intended for it. Its members are anyone anywhere in the world who loves Jesus, and we get an idea of our natural environment from how the early church lived in the New Testament.

The natural environment for "the church" is really...in the wild. Outside. Free. Walking among the people in the world, yet not walking 'like' them.

But over the last few hundred years, as mankind has moved indoors, just as we've snatched animals from the wild and caged them for our convenience, we've done the same thing to the church. The church has been snatched from the wild, even from infancy, and put in a nice clean, convenient, climate-controlled, structured, predictable cage we call a church building.

And at this point in history we fail to see how the behavior of the body is indicative of it being "not okay."

We have come to think it's normal to sign on the dotted line that we're a "card-carrying-member of X church." We've come to think it's normal to go to this building weekly doing the same things each week, each year, giving our money, singing the songs, and following the program. But a tiger pacing back and forth past a viewing window at the zoo is behaving abnormally, and so are we, because no matter how large, how new, how fancy, how full of nice people and nice programs the cage is - it is still a cage.

The Body of Christ which once had the reputation for being the people who stayed behind when everyone fled a plague...is now posting about their rights to health care on Facebook. We "pace back and forth." We engage in "repetitive, invariant behaviour patterns with no obvious goal or function..." sitting in the same pews/seats, singing the same praise and worship songs, attending the same Sunday School classes, planning the same church socials and festivals, planning the same mission trips, and doing the same programs week-after-week, month-after-month, year after year, attending our special "services", etc...

And the end result is we "reproduce poorly."

Oh...our church memberships grow...sure...but the actual Body of Christ? Do we see the world becoming more Christ-like with time's passing, or does the world seem to be spiraling down a godless drain?

We've taken "the church" out of its natural environment and put it in a nice, neat, convenient, climate-controlled cage...and we can't even see it. We've no reference point as to what "the church" looks like in its natural environment that we can't even see how sick the church really is.

Building/planting more churches won't grow the body of Christ.
Going on more mission trips won't grow the body of Christ.
Singing more worship songs, and adding more church programs won't grow the body of Christ.

The world looks at the church and can see us pacing and engaging in our repetitive behaviors from the outside of our cages/churches. They see us as a novelty, but nothing more because we are not demonstrating what the church...what Christ...is really like from inside our cages/churches.

Set the church free.

It was, after all, for freedom that Christ set us free.

Until we get out of our buildings...out of our routines, schedules, structures, and services...we're only wild animals trapped in a zoo cage pacing around...

Get out of the building. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hypocrites keeping you out of church?

I think we've all heard the excuse people use for not going to church because of all the hypocrites

Well a Christian friend of mine told me, what she felt, was the perfect response to that argument. She said, "If you don't go to church because of hypocrites, well, there are hypocrites everywhere, so are you not going to go anywhere in the world?" 

She laughed and really felt this was the perfect response.

Is it?

I believe it ignores an important fact - that is a hypocrite in a car repair shop isn't selling me morality or truth about God...but is selling me car repairs. So for him to be morally a hypocrite does not affect what I'm there to get from him. But I do go to church to get morality and truth so hypocrisy there means you don't get what you've gone there for.

So let's say there's a restaurant in town. They advertise "Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches." You go in and half the time they hand you a cold fish sandwich. You gonna keep going there to that restaurant?

What about a maid service? They advertise a clean house. You come home after they've serviced your home and they didn't even vacuum or dust. You going to hire them again?

We all know this. When it comes to businesses...and even friends...if a business advertises a service that's what we expect, and if that service is bad we discontinue our patronage.

Church Buildings stand on each corner of America offering you and enhanced morality, a higher level of righteousness, and truths about God.

The church will teach... 
- the sexually immoral go to hell
- children are to obey their parents
- the Bible is God's truth in all things
- put others first
- serve your neighbor
- love your neighbor as yourself
- forgive 70x7

And in the same church the same people preaching these things...
- look at porn on their computer
- have affairs
- beat their kids - 70x7 does not apply to them
- drive with no regard for the posted speed limits
- text and drive
- lie on their taxes
- don't put their carts away at the grocery store ;) (just had to add that one)
- gossip
- care very much about money and their possessions 
- post absolutely horrible slanderous hateful gossipy things about whatever political person they do not prefer

You hear preaching from pulpits about how God is always there and that we are to take all our cares to Him anytime anywhere and we are to be like Him...then those same preachers go home and lay in bed with their baby monitors turned off, ignoring a helpless crying baby.

You don't get what's advertised. 

You wouldn't go anywhere else that failed to offer you what you went there for so why would anyone who actually loves God...continue to participate in this corrupted system? 

Because nice people go there? There are nice people everywhere.

Because their friends are there? I'm sure friends can be seen the other 6 days a week.

Because the organization does some good things? There are lots of organizations that do good things and you don't have to be part of an organization to do good things! In fact...if everyone who is supposed to be part of the body of Christ just DID those good things with everyone in their world...there would be no need for those organizations to do those good things because they'd already be done.

Truth is..."the church" in its current form has done far more damage to the world than it has helped. It's programs and "ministry" and open doors to help are a result of the lies the church itself has spread about God. Horrific childcare teachings, for example, have led to problems with relationships, divorces, crime, and addictions. And yet professing Christians keep feeding the monster...building more buildings...funneling their money into it...and participating in it...and then blaming the devil for all the ills in society...

It's not a religion it's a relationship...really?

So I was just thinking about this thing church people love to say, "It's a relationship not a religion."

You know...it's supposed to be...but it's not. Know how I know this?

If ten people who didn't know each other all knew one person. Say me. Ten unrelated people get to know me and then meet each other. While the ten may each know something about me the other nine don't...just because maybe I share one particular interest with one of them and not the other nine...while they may know different additional things each other don't know, they won't believe conflicting things.

One person isn't going to say I'm pro-life and another insist I'm pro-abortion.
One person isn't going to say I'm a Democrat and another insist I'm a Republican.
One person isn't going to say I'm a morning person and another insist I'm a night person.

If they're all people in a friendship...a relationship with me...they're all going to know some core things about me like that I'm pro-life, I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and that I eat morning people for lunch. They'll all know this.

So if you look at the world at all the church buildings out there with their signs and their labels...and then dig into them into their core beliefs and their doctrines...you'll find them all believing highly contradictory things about God.

So no. For most of the people who fill those buildings religiously every Sunday...It's not a relationship. It's a religion. 

If it were a relationship...slowly over the years those church buildings would be emptying...as everyone supposedly getting to know the same One God would be all realizing how and who He is and that, being one way, would make them all become more and more like-minded.  

If it were a relationship missionaries would stop building buildings...and "church people" would stop looking across borders to "be in ministry" but would just start loving their neighbors everywhere all the time...and there would be heaven on earth because the church is supposed to be God's kingdom...and if we really had a relationship with the King we'd bring His kingdom to every person we have contact with.

But instead we have religion and we have church buildings and church services and missionaries obliviously doing harmful things to the world that make them feel good about themselves as they take their selfies and promote their particular brand of church...And we have hateful posts on Facebook arguing about who should or shouldn't be president...


You still wanna say it's a relationship not a religion? Fine. Then prove it

Stop going religiously to your church building. Stop adhering to your doctrines and promoting your brand of church, calling yourself "a Mennonite" or "a Methodist" or WHATEVERist...and go love your neighbors as yourself...Go lay down your life for your friends. 

If that scares you...if the idea of abandoning your church building is like something you "could never do" because how could you still be "a Christian" if you didn't go sit in that building each week and listen to that one person's monologue each week about what you should believe...then you...my fine internet reader...are engaged in a religion NOT a relationship with the Living God. 

So stop trying to kid yourself. 

A house divided can't stand.
The church buildings stand so this means 
that "the church" (the body of Christ) is what's broken because of those buildings.

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