Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many and they followed him. And when the Scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
I could write a whole series of posts about the frustrations i have with the church, but Matthew Paul Turner already has that covered. But one thing that has been on my heart a lot in the past year or so is that it seems like the Church only exists for the Church. Sure, we do missions work and give to charities and whatnot, but the majority of our programming, the majority of our funding, our time, and our energy, goes to the Church. We don't seem to want to reach out to anyone, to bring anyone in, unless they're already a Christian. It's like one big circle jerk, with everyone just making themselves feel better and accomplishing nothing.
I don't want to talk about Chik-Fil-A anymore. I'm tired. All i want to say is that it is a really good example of what i'm talking about. What did this whole thing accomplish? Who was brought to Christ because of this week's demonstrations? Earlier in the week, i read a blog post (can't remember where), where the author talked about how we push LGBTQ people away. She said to go ahead and vote your conscience, vote your morality, but when you put out that lawn sign about voting down equal marriage, did any gay people come knock on your door and say, "Thank you so much for showing me the error of my ways! Please, get your Bible and show me how I can live a better life."? That never happened. Your efforts to deny civil rights to a group of people who just want to be treated as people did nothing to further the Kingdom.
Let me be clear: i am not advocating any particular stance about homosexuality. I've written about this before, and i stick to my position of non-position. If you think that it's a sin, that's your prerogative. But you should know that you are treating sinners the wrong way. Jesus said not to hide our lights under baskets, but isn't that exactly what we're doing? We are showing light only to those who can already see. We are comforting only those who are already happy. We are handing out Band-Aids only to those who are perfectly healthy, while all around us people are dying.
We need to stop this, guys. We need to stop scheduling church events for church people. Do we really need seven different Sunday School classes for people under 25? Do we really need six pot-lucks a year, three Sunday services every week, rotating worship teams? Might that time, energy, talent, and money be better spent volunteering in a soup kitchen, or giving blood, or playing a free outdoor concert of good music where people are encouraged to mingle and talk? Instead of evangelizing, why don't we converse? Instead of arguing, why don't we dialogue? Why are we incapable of leaving room at the table for love?
We need to end the myth of saving people for Church. We have all sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God, and we all continue to do so every single damn day. Mike Warnke, a Christian comedian, once talked about the futility of getting cleaned up to take a bath. We don't need to purify ourselves for Christ. We don't need to become perfect for the Church. We don't need to stop sinning to worship, to fellowship, to pray. Rather, we become holy through these things.
There are people in the world dying of spiritual cancer, and we keep offering Band-Aids to people with skinned knees. Let's stop that bullshit, okay? Let's focus on the things that matter, things like poverty and disease and hunger and education and discrimination and rape and murder and drugs and human trafficking. Because here's the thing: when you've healed the cancer, you don't have to worry so much about things like skinned knees. They will take care of themselves.