Religious Dysfunction

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to say I’m a Christian. I love the Lord and I strive to walk in righteousness. I seek truth and endevour to accomplish my day in love. I believe Christ is the son of God sent as the propitiation for the sins of the world. Still, there are times I am embarrassed by the label Christian – not because I’m not thoroughly convinced of my beliefs or because I fear persecution by unbelievers. Non-Christians are not the foil or threat to Christianity. Christians are.
Christianity is about love, forgiveness, salvation from sin and the resulting peace; and it’s about spreading that good news. Many professing Christians forget that, I think. I say professing and not actual because often their actions tell a different story than their lips. Confessing my faith as a Christian is to be named among these hearers and not doers of the Word. This is not judgement or condemnation on my part, merely a presenting of accumulated experience. The Bible says, “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7) If the world knows Christians (in general) as exclusionary, Bible-bashing, opinionated, loud-mouths, our fruits have spoken for us and we have nullified our witness.
There’s an unfortunate and cloistered environment that some Christian churches have fostered which basically makes a competition out of the religion. It’s all about acquiring greater attendance than the church down the street. Or purposefully scheduling evangelistic events in direct conflict with other churches’ similar ministries. Or using such ostracizing language as, “Those other places don’t have what we have here,” and “People only go to those other places to hide in the crowd.”
Maybe people go to “those other places” because they offer interesting ministries? Maybe the “other places” are closer to home? Perhaps God even leads people where He wants them to be?
Churches that embrace such a narrow-minded attitude impede the people from choosing anything different. The only way to worship God is the way that church worships; the only place to serve God is within those walls; the only way to be holy is to be there. To think individually, to move on, to propose change is to be lost and to reject the truth.
As preposterous as it sounds coming from the loving, long-suffering nature of Christianity, groups like this exist and they are what propagate the marginalizing reputation of Christians everywhere.
I believe this chasm within Christianity is what hinders the saving of souls. We invalidate our testimonies to potential Christians by polarizing our message and mistreating those not “on our side.”
I read something recently in which the author mentioned that Jesus had to correct his disciples telling them that the Gospel is not copyrighted. (It was in reference to Mark 9:38-39 when John told Jesus that he and his brother forbade a man from casting out demons in Jesus’ name because he was not one of the twelve. Jesus told them to not forbid him because “he that is not against us is for our part.”) So why the skirmishing over sides and the bigotted attitudes of, “No other church is as good as ours”? Do we not all convene under the blood of Jesus Christ? And ultimately, as Christians, don’t we all have the same Great Commission? “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Matt. 28:19.

2 thoughts on “Religious Dysfunction

  1. We may wait till He explains Because we know that Jesus reigns. It puzzles me; but, Lord, You understand, And will one day explain this crooked thing. Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Your best- Its very crookedness taught me to cling. So I will thank and praise you for this puzzle, And trust where I cannot understand. Rejoicing you do hold me worth such testing, I cling closer to your guiding hand. F.E.M.I.


  2. Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. – Oscar Wilde


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