20070811

a few reasons i am not in "organized" religion

over the next few weeks i will be sharing with you some of the reasons i left "organized" religion. it needs to be said that i will be giving the reasons to you in no particular order - or in no particular importance. i will share them as they come to me, and i am able to express my feelings; they will come as ramblings from my heart. just so you know, everything is fair game. the reasons could be triggered by current events [as this one was], or just a "flash back" from past experiences - or a combo of both. so, without being long winded, let me share with you one that hit me today -

organized religion claims to love, but in fact finds reasons not to love:
today, as my wife was reading the news online she found a story about high point church in texas canceling the funeral of a man "last minute" because he was gay [story].

now the church claims that they did not know he was gay until the last minute; while the family claims the church knew he was gay from the start - so, who is right? well, in my experience dealing with the inner workings of the church i am more apt to believe the family and not the church - i know, i am very skeptical and jaded.

as a pastor, i was never concerned with what others thought, i felt we needed to do the right thing - and we needed to stand by what christ expected of us. in that, i got slapped many times and i am ok with that - because i knew i was doing the right thing. but here, as a church pulls out last minute, to help a family grieve and work through the loss of a family member - it blew the chance to minister and show that the "church" is above what others claim - the church gave in to pressures [and i am certain those pressures were coming from "major" givers]. the church could have said, "look, we do not agree with the lifestyle of your family member and we will be a place for you to find comfort in christ. we ask that you respect our views in this service, but we are first and foremost here for you." but, that was not the case.

the church said that they "did not agree with the lifestyle" of the person and could not hold the service based on that - ok, but what if a family member is a drunk, will they hold a service for them? what if a family member cheats on their spouse, would the church reject the service based on "not agreeing with their lifestyle?" what about a teen who dies and is not a virgin, would the church reject a service based on "lifestyle" issues?

you see, "lifestyle" issues are weak, and at best just a smoke screen for "we are afraid to lose money and members" over this issue; to me it shows a lack of integrity on the part of the pastors and church. it takes much more courage for the church to stand-up and say, "we are here for the family and we will support them in this time of need" - oh, and the fact that the guy was not a "member" has nothing to do with it; that would be simply another excuse to show how closed organized religion can be.

on a more "personal" note - high point uses the domain "church unusual" because it claims to be "not a normal church" - but it is so normal, it is the center of normal - and the funny thing is that on no place in its website does it claim that it finds "homosexuality an unacceptable lifestyle."

7 comments:

Dean said...

wow, this is a very interesting blog post. thank you for saying things that i think the church needs to hear.

i randomly found your blog and would like to get involved in the emergent movement with my own blog but i dont quite know where to go to get started...perhaps you can drop me an e-mail with some tips for starting out? what are some good blogs to read? my email: dizzean@gmail.com

Johnny Brooks said...

I often times wish I was not in the system as well, but for now that is where God wants me to be. I hate the system, but really want the people in the system, those perpetrating it and those sitting in the pews, to know the love of God first hand. So I need to stay in and do what I am supposed to do.

Keith said...

John,

Geez! This is just so appalling to me that I could puke! It is why I don't call myself a Christian, I am a Christ Follower.

I hope that they would apologize to this guys friends and family and ask for forgiveness. It is the least they could do.

Be well my friend!

Tim said...

John, I totally agree with you. I just commented on this in a couple of my blogs. There were other ways to stand for convictions without further hurting a grieving family and without treating homosexuals like second class people.

Gary said...

Like I said before...the best we can be, whatever we call ourselves, is to "sometimes" be that person...right now the kind of person I am is one who is sickened, saddened, and perplexed that Jesus does not come down and destroy the apostate Church that propogates hate...

Miracle said...

Hey John, glad to see you back. You finally finished the drive across the country?

I agree about how the church chooses to play it "safe" when it comes to ministering. Our church openly has homosexuals worship. They even have some of the highest positions in it, but it still "plays it safe" in other areas. Its not an homosexual issue, but a fear to go out into the margins and minister to those that are different in our society. Sadly, it is about appearance and money.

Miracle said...

I also wanted to comment about the "church unusual" website. Why is it that the picture of the pastor always portray him as achieved perfection? They are always sitting and smiling with their spouse in an expensive outfit. Are they trying to say to everyone that we are above you and if you come here you can see it? If they really wanted to be "church unusual" then they should show a picture of them honestly. Barely hanging on but still having faith to continue