No more fluffy church

A while back I heard a news program about a group of Las Vegas prostitutes who found salvation through Jesus and went into ministry helping other hookers to do the same. When asked why she felt called into that ministry, one of women said something to the effect of: “I escaped a burning building but others were still trapped. I had to go back and help them out.”

Have you ever been trapped in darkness? I have. It’s a terrible feeling — lost, lonely, condemned, sad, hopeless. And then when I met Jesus, the opposite feelings — found, loved, free, full of joy and hope.

Did you know that the enemy can take us back to those feelings of being trapped in darkness? He can’t take our salvation of course, but he can deceive us. And it’s happening everywhere — we’re just going to church to feel better about ourselves. Because inside we’re as lost as ever before, or at least it feels that way. It’s time to be real with each other and ourselves.
Church isn’t a stage rehearsal for heaven.

Lord let your sleeping giant rise / Catch the demons by surprise / Holy nation sanctified / Let this be our battlecry ~ Casting Crowns, “Until the Whole World Hears”

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to the eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:10-11

5 thoughts on “No more fluffy church

  1. yes! I agree, church needs to be a place where we can be real with one another so we can help one another ‘re-member’ who we are and Who helps us rise from that which seeks to keep us groping in darkness…thanks for saying it outloud…

    also, a while back I read your Crosswalk article–very nice! I’ve a daughter who goes to college next fall, will be sharing it with her…thank you!

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  2. “Did you know that the enemy can take us back to those feelings of being trapped in darkness?…”

    Losing the joy of our salvation is one of the saddest developments that can happen to any Christian. And yet, it is almost an epidemic plague of the church.

    God bless those former prostitutes.

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  3. Oh, Anna. You fascinate me because you and I always seem to see eye to eye on church, yet you remain a Christian. There is constant but subtle pressure in the church to conform to the norm.

    Try dressing like Viona Ielegems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Viona_ielegems.jpg) when you go to church. You know rationally she is no more dressed up then some other people you see every Sunday. But she does it in a way that conflicts with the image that the Church wishes to project. If she went to most US churches like that a pressure would begin, first light and building up slowly until the pastor after some months would tell her to dress differently or leave.

    Perhaps you are different, but the Garfield reading, Nascar watching, Chik-fil-A eating, mini-van driving church at large desperately, desperately does not want a bunch of Goths, Steam Punks (http://www.geekologie.com/2008/05/09/steam-fashion-1.jpg) and psychobilly rockers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HorrorPops_live_03.jpg) sitting in back.

    Maybe you think “Well its OK if the secondary passions in their lives are things like drapey clothing, strange music, and dirty hotrods, just like other people’s secondary passions are football, candle parties, and country music, because all of us share the primary passion of Jesus!”

    But its not OK. And the normal people make clear to us everyday that way we express ourselves is not right, that it is not enough to love Jesus, we also have to stop getting tattoos, stop dying our hair, and stop dressing like our friends instead of their friends.

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  4. The social norm will always be a problem in churches.
    Goth and punk aren’t really about the clothes, but about the social rebellion behind it. About acknowledging the death and despair in life, while the mainstream seeks superficial happiness, political power, and denial of darkness. This rebellion against the mainstream isn’t a bad thing. THe deeper I get into Christianity the more I see value in social rebellion, in using morally neutral ideas to challenge the status quo (ESPECIALLY in churches). Jesus did this all the time.

    Granted, I am not that personally rebellious in style. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’ve never dressed in goth. But every day I try to resist the pull to conform, when conforming means stressing about the decorations for the church Christmas party, or always having to look perfect, or not talking about the real issues in life.

    truthwalker, I go to a fantastic church. There are some amazingly REAL people there, who talk openly about things like pornography, depression, and drug addiction as issues of their own hearts, not just something that happens “out there”. Not everyone, because we have a large church and many are just along for the ride.

    But even so, the reason I have remained a Christian even through disillusionment is not because of my church — it’s because the Jesus I see in the New Testament got it right. I want to be like Him in the deepest way — not in that legalistic way too often conveyed. And I feel His spirit in me at the strangest times — drawn to broken, marginalized people. Drawn to the nonconformers. Angry and incontent to see injustice, to see God’s powerful word reduced to a mere self-help tool for living a conformed safe life. Jesus He had these same problems with the church and social norms.

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