My Hypocritical Rant About The Church (About How I Hate Rants About The Church)

So for the past few years, I’ve been seeing more and more articles, blog posts, videos, status updates, and tweets about what is currently wrong with one particular group: The Church; most accompanied by 3-5 things that the Church could/should/MUST do (que ominous music) to fix/repair/heal it…lest it perish…

(Because you know, our human fallibility is going to somehow stop the work that an infallible God has done generation after generation for 2 millennia through imperfect fallen people known as the local church.  Come on people, the church survived the crusades, the dark ages, AND the dawn of televangelism.  We’re giving ourselves a lot of cred to think OUR generation and the modern church will be the one to wreck it…but I digress.)

At any rate, what’s amazing is the fact that everyone who writes “the problem with the church is” has somehow become an expert.  Somehow, they’re convinced that their words are going to save the fate of the movement that Jesus himself declared that the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against.  

And the funny thing is, it comes from ALL sides.  I don’t have to tell you, because you already know, but just in case you’ve forgotten…

You’ve got the modern church guys talking about how and why the traditional guys turn off every twenty-something that comes in their church because of their approach and structure.  You’ve got the traditional guys talking about how the modern guys are so consumed with people’s experience, that they could care less about about making cross-carrying disciples.

You’ve got the simple, quiet reflective guys talking about how modern worship has become all about the show, and that the lights, haze, and bands could never be used as tools to draw attention to Jesus because they are too busy being used to entertain and draw attention to the rock star worship pastors.  Then the rock star worship guys are trashing the simple guys with a music stand and an acoustic guitar for not bringing absolute all out excellence to a God who deserves nothing less.

You’ve got the big church pastors talking about how a small church isn’t growing because it isn’t healthy, and the small church guys talking about how the big church doesn’t focus on or care about genuine community.

You’ve got the grace guys talking about how we’ve complicated the simplicity and beauty of the Gospel, and you’ve got the repentance guys saying we’ve watered down the truth.

And then of course, my favorite…you’ve got the list of reasons why people left the church…some because its way too stuffy, conservative, and judgmental, and some because it was fake, fluffy, and disingenuous.  And the list goes on…and on…and on…and on…and ON…

And no matter what the position is, it usually ends with a quotation from some verse from the New Testament defending why THEIR critique of God’s Church is actually GOD’S critique directly, and how we should feel convicted….(unless we’re already doing church their way.)

Now, I know God’s Church is made up of and led by people.  I know people are jaded.  I know people are broken, self conscious, and cynical.  I know people are know-it-alls.  So I totally get it.  I understand all the articles.  I understand all the opinions.  I understand all the self-righteousness.


What if we just stopped.

Like seriously, what if we just chilled out for a minute…and slowed down, and thought about it?

Try it.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Woooosaaahhhhh.  (Read the following very slowly…)

What would it look like if we all stopped complaining about the church we see, and instead started being the church we’ve hoped for.

What would it look like if we all took the time we spent writing the 5 reasons why the church down the street sucks, and took that time to call a friend and ask them how their week has been.

What would it look like if we pursued living out the difference we seek as passionately as calling out the difference we long for.

What if we stopped crucifying the church for not looking like us, and started modeling the church to a world who desperately needs it.

Can you imagine.  

Just picture it… 

-the people inside the church being filled with gratitude for behavior modeled, rather than being filled with vitriol for behavior held in contempt.
-the people outside the church in awe of the love, unity, mercy, and compassion for one another found in this Jesus movement called the local church.

Look, I’ve seen the church make mistakes.  I’ve seen churches do things I’m embarrassed of.  I’ve seen churches and church leaders get it royally wrong.  But this year, I also got to see the church STEP UP TO THE PLATE and rescue tons of kids from poverty and the effects of it through Compassion International.  I got to see the church provide tons of blankets, food, and resources for the homeless in our city through Hope In Motion.  I got to see the church fill countless backpacks for underprivileged kids with food and toiletries through Sunshine backpack Ministry.  I got to witness dozens of orphans being brought into homes to experience unconditional love, support, and care for the very first time.  I got to watch the church step up and provide Christmas for hundreds of kids around the world who otherwise wouldn’t have it.  I watched the church step up to the plate and meet immediate needs when flood waters overtook our neighbor states.  As I watched the church in action all this year…all I could think was…THIS is beautiful.

When the church stops talking about the church, and starts being the church…it’s beautiful.

So the next time you go to update the world on your concern, frustration, disdain, or sadness over the local church…remember…you are a PART of that church.  So maybe put the keyboard down…and instead of writing or sharing a post about what’s wrong with the Church…go BE the Church that you know Jesus has rescued you to be. 

The church doesn’t need to be rescued by you…but the world does.  So go be the church.

And since all of these posts end with a verse out of the New Testament convincing you this is God’s idea instead of the writer’s…here’s mine:

John 17:22 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.”
(For what it’s worth…this prayer of unity was one of the last things Jesus prayed before He was executed for this ugly/beautiful movement he called…the Church.)