My roommate and I study the Scriptures every night after supper. Currently, we are reading the New Testament. Together we have compared the U.S. Southern church culture around us to examples of the church we find in the Scriptures. Often, this leads to a lot of frustration toward the issues we see within our Southern church tradition. Frustration turns swiftly to anger, especially on my part. Granted, we are in our mid twenties we're aware that this is the stage of our life where we want to change the world. I once proclaimed: "If they would just give me one year, when everyone would do what I say, everything would be so much better."
The list of top frustrations with Southern church culture are as follows:
(1) We have the spirit of the Pharisees (and act like them), especially in more conservative churches.
(2) We live our "church-life" in isolation from the world.
(3) We are so confident that we're God's people, that we can't imagine Him being upset with the way we "do church."
(4) We are terribly complacent with the status-quo.
(5) We have want segregation from latter-day lepers: drunks, drug addicts, whores, gays, radicals.
My Irish blood streams through my veins and makes me want to play the prophet (a la Jesus). I would storm into a fancy sanctuary, stomp down to the front of the church, pick up the beautiful bouquet of flowers sitting on the communion table, and cast them down with such force that the vase shatters. This would definitely get people's attention as I would then proceed to preach against the ways of the church culture...these ways I have no term for except "Stupidness." In this scenario, I don't see people falling on their faces in tears and repenting. I do see myself being chased off a cliff so the church people could throw me down to my death.
Perhaps this isn't the best approach, but it sure as heck would make me feel better. Proclamation against stupidity is a viable option. I have encountered a few preachers in the cloth of the prophets of old who proclaim passionately (I've seen tears from a young ex-soldier turned preacher). Now, I don't believe in presenting problems without also presenting solutions. However, I'm not exactly sure what can be done. What I realize while reading through the Scriptures with my roommate, is that Jesus is the Master of the church. He is intimately attached to the inner workings and moves to do mighty works through the church. What I must remember, is that even when she looks disgusting, the church is still the bride of Christ. She is beloved by Him with such a fervor that He willingly was tortured to death for her sake. So since I'm at a loss for solutions, let's have a brainstorming session. What problems do you see in the church culture around you? What are the actions we take to see them confronted and ultimately changed? If you had a year where everyone did your biding, how would you make the world a better place?