Zoo Station

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The American church, she’s with me

Posted by Chance on June 26, 2009

The church, specifically the American church, is typically a source of criticism, by those inside and outside the church.  I will address those right now within the church.  Now, the American church is far from perfect, it is made up of imperfect people, like me.  So the church is not above criticism, and it is each member’s duty to strengthen the body; sometimes that will involve criticism and conflict.

At the same time, however, criticizing the church has almost become a cool pastime for Christians.  It almost becomes a punching bag.  Here’s the thing though, the church is my family. So when you criticize the church, you are criticizing my family, and yours as well.  Yes, the church needs to constantly be better, and I know I’ve often talked about things that need to improve.  But I see the people who are in leadership at my church.  They are good people, good-hearted people.  No, they don’t have everything figured out, but they are, for the most part, trying their best.

The point is, when you criticize the church, you are not just criticizing some faceless and remote institution.  You are criticizing the people who pour their heart and soul into the church, whether they are paid staff or people who volunteer.   They are real people, staying up late nights printing church bulletins or making signs, or people who are making decisions about who to lay off so they don’t cut out essential ministries.  The church is not evil, and the church does not represent everything that is wrong with American Christianity, as Christians often think it is ( and I suppose non-Christians as well).  It may be cool to bash the church, but guess what, the church is us.  Whatever standard to which you hold the church you should also hold yourself.  If you criticize the church in how they handle their money, you should look at your own financial decisions.  If you criticize their priorities in ministry, it is only fair to look at your own.

Again, there is nothing wrong with criticizing the church and pointing out where we, as a Christian body need to improve, just keep in mind that the church is composed of real people, and that it is composed of you and I.


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