Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Beef With American pop Christianity

As I further process what bugged me about my old church or what Christianity is portrayed in the media or on the tv preacher channels on common thread comes up. God owes us something if we obey and go to the trouble to follow the teachings of Christ. This usually involves us doing something spectacular like giving a large sum of money, a missions trip or even some door to door evangelism. In the meantime most people who follow this model overlook their circle of influence in their normal everyday life and become less effective for the kingdom overall. What if everybody at your church is doing all kinds of awesome stuff they can brag about on social media and all your doing is saying hi to a lonely person. What if you never knew the difference you made or had pictures to post on facebook to get 100 likes. Can you be content with that meager existence even if there might be a remote possibility you are making more of difference than your modern day pharisee friends and you get no affirmation of it. If you understand church history and contemplatives in the monasteries you should realize it is a higher calling. Unfortunately, the American consumerist model has take over Evangelicalism and public glory is more important.

It seems like Evangelical churches I have attended have taken ques from the business world. They have usurped maketing techniques and growth strategies to steal memebers from rival congregations. So our relationships at these churches are as fake as they are at work since there is a ladder to climb for staus and acceptance. Church no longer becomes a weekly break from the law and Christ being present in holy communion. It becomes a self centered rock concert with 30+ minutes of a sermon that is nothing but practical advice. But this model sells and reels in all of the simpletons while more reverent type churches are dwindling in memebership. There is an obvious dumbing down of our culture and the church is playing right along with it in a way. I guess they have to evolve to survive in the msrketplace but I shouldnt have to use business terms to describe the church.

If I talk to friends from my old church they will say that the pre reformation churches are works based salvation. However, I think any church no matter the denomination can fall into this if they fall off the Orthodox belief track. For example at my old church there is tremendous pressure to attend service, Sunday school, small group and Sunday night class. Then if you have extra time you can volunteer and do door to door evangelism. That doesn't even take into account the hours of fox news and Rush Limbaugh you have to listen to be able to hold a conversation in passing between scheduled events at the church to put out the scent that you belong there. On the surface they tell you that all you have to do is pray the sinners prayer to be saved but then the rest of the requirements to belong become apparent after you are already hooked.

I guess good Orthodoxy in Christianity is a moving target and can be elusive at times. The challenge is to listen to our gut when things seem wrong and figure out what the problem is.

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