Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Sick Churches Wanna Be Sick
While I may be wrong, I'm convinced selfishness is killing America and sooooooo many churches.
Specifically, it's the me-me-me refrain of a spoiled generation of American "Christians" who think selfishness is not absolutely antithetical to everything known about Jesus and following Him by the book.
It's the OCDish personality punctuations: "My rights...concerns...feelings...needs...opinions..."
It reaches its highest insult to His holiness in this attitude so often acted out if not articulated: "I know that's what Jesus and the Bible say but I think..."
If we're not on the same page right now, we've been reading different books...or books about the book...but not the book itself.
More specifically, the disease is often heard with these exclamations: "The sanctuary is too warm/cold for me...The music is too soft/loud for me...I, I, I do/don't like..."
While we will find no comfort, consolation, or confirmation for selfishness in Jesus or the book about Him, that character flaw continuing from the garden is often enabled in America and too many churches.
Truth is many so-called "Christians" in so-called "churches" are sooooooo egocentric rather than Theo/Christocentric that they really aren't self-aware to their selfishness.
They look into the mirror and see a...god.
Truth is too many churches are diseased by so-called "Christians" who are really, really, really comfortable in their selfish sickness aka sin and don't wanna get better.
They like their sickness aka sin.
That's why they are dying.
That's why America is dying.
That's why sooooooo many churches are dying.
There are exceptions; but, generally speaking, selfishness is killing America and sooooooo many churches because they just don't wanna get better.
John 5:1-9 comes to mind.
You know the story; but read it once more in the aforementioned contemporary context.
Sick guy lying by the side of the pool for a very, very, very long time - nearly four decades.
Sick guy lying by the side of the pool and waiting for nearly four decades for somebody to take care of him - help him into the pool that superstition says can heal.
Sick guy just waiting and waiting and waiting for...someone, something, anyone, anything...to take him for a swim after such a long time of life against the current.
Jesus sees him, knows he's just been lying there forever, and asks, "Do you want to get well/healed?"
"I got nobody to help me," the man protests.
Instead of enabling his continuing sickness, Jesus commands, "Get up, get moving, follow Me, and you'll get well/healed!"
Report: "And at once the man was healed, and he...walked."
Now I'm not gonna exegete all of the traditio-historical stuff; 'cause you can't build a theology or spirituality or faith or trust on broken pickle jars.
But I am going to scratch the surface of a very deep promise from God that's sooooooo blindingly obvious.
Here it is.
If we really want to get better, we listen to Jesus and do what He says without hesitation or equivocation.
Jesus did not enable the man's selfishness of waiting for someone else to pick him up and carry him through life.
Jesus did not enable the man's infidelities or inflexibilities or anything like that.
Jesus did not remain silent when the Word was needed to heal.
Jesus simply told the man, in essence, that if he really wanted to get well, all he had to do was listen to Him: "Get up, get moving, follow Me, and you'll get well/healed!"
America and too many of her pathetically egocentric me-me-me churches will never get better until they listen to Jesus and let Him lead; and if they're not willing to listen to Jesus and let Him lead, they don't really want to get well/healed...and won't.
Recently, I was talking to a friend about somebody who's always sick and complaining...or sick and complaining about someone or something...or sick and...
You know the kind.
There are sooooooo many of 'em around; which, again, is why America and sooooooo many churches are dying.
My friend said, "She/he is addicted to sickness."
I added, "And our church has been enabling her/him for years."
Truth is some folks and churches just don't want to get better.
But that's no excuse for enabling them to stay sick!
If we're really getting better because we're really listening to Jesus and letting Him lead, we have a privilege as well as responsibility to tell people that it is possible to get better.
It is possible for America to get well/healed.
It is possible for churches to turn around and get healthy.
Listen to Him!
Let Him lead!
Stop enabling those who don't wanna get well/healed.
If we enable people who don't wanna get well/healed, that means we don't really want 'em to get well/healed which means we don't really want America and churches to get well/healed which means we are as sick as...
Everybody's sick in some way.
I am...just ask my wife...and congregation...and, uh, anybody who's ever spent any significant time avec moi.
That's why Jesus comes to us as Lord and Savior.
Buuuuuuut only those who wanna remain sick don't listen to Him and let Him lead.
I almost forgot something.
This identified/isolated sickness aka sin in John 5 can be temporary or permanent.
C.S. Lewis wrote, "I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road...Evil can be undone, but it cannot 'develop' into good...If we insist on keeping hell, we shall not see heaven..."
Sick or saved.
While I'm not about to take on the hyper-Calvinists and hyper-Arminians, it's a choice in a predestined kinda way.
What do we really want?
To be well/healed?
If we really wanna get well/healed, there's really only one way.
Blessings and Love!