Thursday, July 19, 2012

P4E.246 What If?

What if church were a different kind of place? The landscape of "church" could be a very different place if the premises of "church" were changed.

For instance, why does there need to be a charismatic "pastor," who represents himself as all-knowing and teaches from an "on-high" pulpit? Why can't there be a group of humble men and women, who never imagined that they would be leaders who lead by example?

What if church were interactive, instead of a monologue? It's a very paternal configuration, because let's face it, most pastors are MEN who deliver a monologue that makes them appear to be teaching from a position of authority, when in fact, they are just as fallible as the rest of us.

What if, instead of badgering, cajoling, browbeating or tricking you into "accepting Christ into your heart" a church simply said, "We love you. What can we do for you?"

What if the church moved away from the "worship music" that dominates its formulaic service? When it was a couple of guys on acoustic guitars you used to be able to actually hear and "commune" with God and those worshipping in song around you. And, does it have to be singing, anyway?

Every church seems to be a glorified self-help ministry, trying desperately to make sure that their congregation's egos are intact, their men are wild at heart and that their lives are "purpose driven."

What if, instead of buying into the world's idea of what a man should be (ie, brash, bold, haughty, stoic, arrogant, loud, aggressive, strong, selfish, materialistic, predatory), churches taught their men to be mild, gentle, kind, meek, thoughtful, patient, peaceful, joyful and loving?

What if, instead of a "What We Believe" section in every website or bulletin there were a "How Can We Make a Positive Difference in Your Life?" section?

And then there's the money. The money, the money, the money.

What if the donations made by congregations went to a third-party administered trust? Say, a reputable accounting firm. The money could be accounted for and distributed where it was truly needed without the temptation of mis-spending it.

Why does something of a spiritual nature, something that most acknowledge is made up of people, need to be constructed of brick and mortar? Shouldn't churches be going the way of the book and record stores?

What if the church existed "in the cloud?" Then there would be no need for rent or lease or mortgage payments. There would be no need to provide a huge sanctuary with lighting and sound systems and flat screens. There's staff salaries and landscaping and irrigation and building maintenance and telephones, etc. All of these costs misdirect the money away from reaching out to the community in more tangible ways.

What if, instead of harping on theological differences between denominations and non-denominations, the church dropped the arguing and focused on the BASICS.

What if the church simply focused on loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves? What if it came down to caring for widows and orphans, visiting people in prison, tending to the sick, feeding the poor and caring for the less fortunate among us? What if we were Good Samaritans?

What if the church stayed out of politics and conservatism and simply reached out to a needy world?

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