Maybe some of you will understand what I’m talking about, maybe some will have no clue. Have you ever done something for so long that you really don’t know why you do it that way? Now I’m not talking about seriously bad habits, just those things that if someone asks you why, you have no idea how to respond. The ones that have gone on for generations are the most amazing to me. For example, since the very first purchase of an automobile in our family, going back 100 years, everyone since has always purchased the same make of car. Thank goodness they didn’t buy a Studebaker or Kissel, or we would all be walking! To this day, buying something else just seems unthinkable and counterintuitive.
Often our church life is filled with those things too. We do things out of simple habit, don’t we? We sit in the same spot, say the same prayers and responses, sing the same songs, and talk to the same people. That has become the church experience for us, that’s just how we do it. We staunchly reject any change because, well, then it doesn’t fit our habit of church. New people are ok, I guess, but they had better stick with the plan and sit in the cheap seats or they will experience the cold shoulder. If they have kids, they’d better keep quiet and they had better dress like us and make us feel good about ourselves. After all, that’s what church is for, to make us feel good and holy.
We build big beautiful buildings, have programs to include people that we accept, lovely music (but with out that satanic beat), spend money on programs, supplies, sound equipment, cushy seats, and hire a Pastor that makes us feel like we’re better than everyone else because we dressed up and showed up. That Pastor better keep the sermons light and fluffy for everyone, because we cant afford to lose anyone. We’ve got big bills to pay! Plus, it gives opportunity to cut down folks that have a horrible voice or maybe don’t dress as nice as us. Jesus sure is lucky to have us!
But friends, why are we doing it this way? For example, nowhere in the Bible does it ever say the church is a building. Absolutely nowhere. They met in peoples homes. So now we have a big building, fancy it up and wait for people to come to us. Again, nowhere in the Bible does it suggest that people should come to us. It says we are to go out into the world, not hide in a self righteous holy huddle in a building. How many churches go out and do anything anymore? Except for a dozen Jews that were Jesus’ pals, the whole world was unwashed filthy heathens, but they didn’t hide. They went hundreds of miles on foot to share the good news of Jesus and they all died very ugly deaths except for John. Their converts died ugly deaths too, but they kept preaching and establishing churches. They weren’t real estate developers , songwriters or tailors. They sought out the lost. That’s what Jesus said to do.
Now flash back to us. American holier than thou us. We hide in a building and the only good we do for the world is to tell them how they ought to act. That’s our habit and just how things are done. If folks don’t dress like us sing like us or live like us, we exclude them or at least keep them alienated till they leave.
What are we doing? How could we have developed these habits that are so far from what Jesus taught? The American church has become what He preached against. Is it really just habit or are we really that rotten and worldly? Perhaps its time to re-examine what we are doing in Jesus’ name. I know that I am. It is uncomfortable friends. Kicking the habit of churchism is counter-cultural. Then again, my Savior was quite a counter-cultural hero, and He really got a lot of resistance. Can we, as individuals, take the ridicule of following Jesus’ words over church society? Can we stand up to the councils and committees that regulate who gets to hear about a gracious and loving Savior? Can we change our own thoughts about who is worthy and what God would really have us do in His name?
Friends, lets not waste any more of our time being slaves to churchism. I want to be a slave of Jesus Christ, not a building or social committee. I don’t know all of your stories or struggles, but I want you to know that you are always presentable to be with Jesus. Don’t let church people scare you away from Jesus. He may be the only one that accepts you and I, and I’m ok with that.