Thursday, June 4, 2009

Interesting Critique Of The Condition Of The Church Of America

Thanks to my friend and fellow Camel and CBFer, Christina Whitehouse-Suggs, here is part of an interesting posting from Jim Mark's Blog:

What is it we’re all searching for?
Posted by Jim Marks under Uncategorized
[2] Comments

It is at this point well documented that young adults abandon church in droves. Many, but not all, return when they have children. Both the growing hordes of “seeker Christians” (and seekers across religions) as well as the problem of “commodity Churches” have been discussed at length and well, by many people and I’m not going to attempt to improve on the ground already covered. But a dear friend just said something that caused a spark, so I’m writing it down here to share it.

I haven’t felt that way since I was in the church I grew up in, with all it’s flaws, at least it was a family… I think perhaps I loved it then because I didn’t know any better.

This is a shockingly succinct and beautiful summation of what church, and by extension religion, means for children. Church means family in the big, broad, old fashioned sense and family is something you love because you don’t know any better.

We all have families. Some of us may not have any living family left, but at some point we did. Some of us may not have any kind of relationship with our family, but at some point we did. And these things shape us in (nearly) indelible ways. But at some point all of us grow up and there is a kind of opening of the eyes. Even if our families are nearly perfect, at a certain age we discover the imperfections. It can, for some of us (not necessarily me), take a long time to get over the disillusionment that can come with these realizations; especially if the imperfections in your family are substantial.

Church really is just like this. So many of us have this gnawing sense that there has to be something better. Something more genuine. Something more engaged. Something more radical. Something more authentic. Something more intellectually honest. Something more. We (and now I do mean me) are still deeply disillusioned with the church/religion of our childhood. We have not yet recovered from the shock of the discovery that our “family” was disfunctional.

And this is why, really why, I think the commodity church reaction to the seeker Christian phenomena is so wrong headed. Not just because turning church into a consumer product is idolatrous and blasphemous (which it is). But much more so because many of us who might be seen as “seekers” aren’t really seeking at all. We know what we want. We want to go Home. We don’t want to return to the actual church in which we grew up. But we want to come Home, and return to that Wide Eyed Wonder of our childhood that allowed us to love a flawed family; because we didn’t know any better.

(Read More: Here).

Well said---Jim Mark, after such an aptly written articulation of what's wrong with the American church---I can add no further comment.

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