Thursday, September 29, 2005

"They like Jesus, but Not the Church."

I've heard Dan Kimball mention this concept a few times. (In fact he is writing a book by that title for Zondervan) I'm just wondering though How hard it is to separate the two? Isn't the church suppose to point people to well ... Jesus. Isn't the church suppose to be the Bride of Christ?
And that Jesus loved and died for the church.

I wonder why there is this cynical, bitter, idea of the church?

Perhaps it is because the church has been abused, misused, and perception of her promoting people's agendas, rather than God's?
Think Donald Miller's Confession Booth

Maybe that is why I'm leary of promoting the church and youth ministries as flagships or that we have all the answers even to questions such as:

"Would you like to know God personally?" (AS if we know everything there is to know about God)

A balancing of the Faith, facts, and feelings. Faith is a journey. Not just giving pat answers.

I cannot make people know God personally. They have to want to seek as God is seeking them. The philosopher Arthur Holmes is known for saying, "All truth is God's truth." We are to seek out truth.

We label everything. Even the church and things are labeled as "Christian." Rob Bell shares the story of being at a convention and hearing a well-known pastor speak after him. "He essentially told the roomful of pastors that if their churches weren't growing and they weren't happy all the time and they weren't healthy and successful, then they probably weren't 'called and chosen by God' to be pastors." pg. 84 (Velvet Elvis Zondervan, 2005) Rob then goes on to share his disappoint with this because it wasn't true.

So how does this go back to "They like Jesus but Not the Church?" Lots of people like Jesus. Lots of people like the concept of Jesus, the problem is we see Jesus as likeable instead of loveable. We need to love Jesus and love the Church.

Rob Bell (I just finished reading his book, Velvet Elvis) again shares a story about a pastor who was ready to do the typical sinner's prayer and to raise their hands etc. No one would be looking, all eyes to be closed. Here is what he shares on pg. 176

"He then asked for people who had prayed that prayer to raise their hands wherever they were seated.. This way he would know who were so he can pray for them. He said that nobody but him would be looking.

The pastor then said, "I see that hand over there. Thank you. I see that hand in the back. I see some young women in the front ..."And he proceeded to acknowledge the hands that were going up all over the room.

During this entire time I had kept my eyes open and was watching the whole thing.

I didn't see any hands go up."

One of the ideas I have is a returning to the whole Dangerous Wonder, the messy discipleship, the passion reclaimed. The idea that we are to balance what we are repulsed by, and what we love. I want to dream that my job is loving the church (Even if I don't like what others portray her as), being the church, and being caught up in the moment.

The church may not be perfect, But I'm hoping soon that a book title comes out soon with They Love Jesus, Because They Love the Church. Now that I'm thinking about it ....The Apostle Paul was very instrumental in helping write that. The Epistles found in the New Testament. I just pray that our lives, and our stories become God's. And may we blog that we love Jesus, because We love the Church.


theoquest said...

Thanks for this reminder.

It's so easy to get caught up in petty things and critical. It seems the current climate is to bash the bride when she's down instead of helping her clean up. Then again, sometimes I think people in the church are not realize how stray they can get. Kind of like Israel is Jesus' day - not recognizing the Shepherd's voice.

Still, that's not license to further weaken the Body, but a call to love the church and strengthen it all the more.

risen_soul said...

You're right on my friend. You can not seperate Christ from the church. That would chopping off the head from the body.

The whole sinners prayer thing... yeah, that makes me sick. Where in the New Testament do we see Paul or Peter, or Philip or anyone say, "Now just repeat after me and mean it from your heart." It's a matter of faith or maybe another way to say it is "trust." Ephesians 2:8-9 doesn't say that "it is by saying a prayer that you have been saved." It's by faith. In fact according to the Bible God doesn't hear the prayers of sinners. So if we had to pray to receive Christ we'd all be doomed to Hell. There isn't anything wrong with praying to God as an expression of faith, but there has to be an understanding between the difference. Good stuff. I'll be sure to check back.

In Christ -Jacob

Dan said...

hey gerrard -

i agree with what you saying and that is actually the point of the book. but the sad fact is, from being immersed among non-christians, this is exactly what they are saying "I Like Jesus but not the Church". they might not know the Jesus as in the BIble, but they at least respect what they know of Him. So i see us going back to being Jesus focused first instead of church focused. after people meet the groom, they will meet the bride.

i blogged about why it is important to love the church and forgive the church before, and i am cllsing the book with the quote from HN you can read here

Da Youth Guy said...

ah but isn't the real question what people mean when they talk about "the church"? For many people it's the institution, the bureaucracy (sp?), the dogma, the doctrine, the discipline, the ritual, the music.

When in fact it's none of the above. Those should be how we express "the church" but they are unimportant in reality. Maybe someday we'll get to the point where "the church" doesn't spend so much time standing between the people and Jesus.

May Newsletter Article

The Following is a prescription that should be avoided at all cost. (From Caller July, 1989) Prescription for Unhappiness: 1. Make little...