I just finished a book written by Gretta Vosper titled ‘With or Without God’. It was an interesting book on how the church overall is suffering from a boxed in mindset that keeps it from being renewed and out of touch of where people are currently at. Most of us are getting skeptical of ready made answers that really don’t match up with good questions that are being asked.
The ‘give me that old fashioned religion’ way of doing things needs to be discarded as the world evolves. The way we do things has changed dramatically in recent years as technology changes daily. The church needs to drop the rigid interpretation of the Bible and place emphasis more on just and compassionate living. The church doesn’t need to promote the cult of celebrity any longer but to discuss what Jesus had to teach then be led by Spirit on how to live it.
Since human nature hasn’t changed very much since Day 1 of our existence, we still need to build a sense of community, social justice, find fulfillment, comfort, promote respect and dignity. If we don’t we will be continually be betrayed or stay disenchanted by the various religious institutions.
Instead of keeping stuck in the past, the church needs to develop a vision for the future. Using fear of the unknown, traditionalists will frighten people by discrediting the messenger in some form as they can’t or won’t deal with the message and attempt to discourage others from implementing positive changes in their lives. Some people, as individuals or in groups, complain about they are against but rarely mention what they are for.
There will always be those who will undergo lengthy periods of ennui rather than rise to the challenge of change. Before calling some a heretic, it is wise to listen to what is being said. Needless to say, if God exists, God doesn’t need to look or act like what we portray God to be.
It is unfortunate that most of us fall into a belief system without questioning what we have to come to have faith in. Don’t tell me what you believe in, tell me what you know. It’s a big chasm between the two. Change is good as it wakes us from our dream state and out of the same old same old mentality. Church leaders need not be afraid of critical thinking or the secular world as either one can and does provide different angles on looking at things.
Life itself brings a lot of uncertainty with it or it will get too predictable.We can’t wait around for the so called return of Christ or some will get too complacent in bringing about necessary changes in our world. Nobody knows for sure what happens after the moment of death, so we need to do some footwork prior to that time. No matter what labels we call ourselves we do share a common future and do our best to make it a good one.
The church, among other religions, has a lot of issues, agendas and luggage they’ve dragged behind them throughout history. Despite the bad things the church has done in the past, some amends have been made. But it can’t just done for some matters; the whole parcel must be dealt with. Before complaining about the secular or non-Christian world, the church better take a good look in the mirror and see what icky-gooey stuff is there. Labeling a person with terms like atheist or agnostic does little to improve any situation as it separates people when barriers need to be broken down. Being nice or saying nothing does nothing much either when speaking a honest truth opinion is a better alternative as things get into the open and on the table.
By Ron Murdock