Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"I Hate Organized Religion"

I heard this recently from a tattoo artist that I was inviting to church. He didn't hate God, he hated church. He was not mean or antagonistic, but he wanted no part of "organized religion". As I sat through a staff meeting at church last night this came to mind as we talked about organization. Now please don't get me wrong I love organization (OCD), but where does this "I hate organized religion" thing come from? I started looking and found a couple of things. Number one; if he is referring to the organized effort by many "Christians" to cast stones at sinners, then I agree. If he is talking about churches so organized that they exclude "outsiders", then I agree. Even if he is talking about what happens at many church leadership meetings, then I agree. Number two; in the book of Acts we read about the real beginning of The Church. Jesus said He would build His church on Peter and that didn't start until after His death, just to clear up my theological stance about when and where. They had some prayer meetings which lead to thousands coming to the saving knowledge of Christ. But, as I read I noticed that it wasn't until chapter 6 that they really began to get organized, and what prompted this? The needy!! The church first organized around an effort to help the needy. Let's all remember that as we plan our church, first and foremost we should plan to help those who need help the most. If my tattoo artist was referring to that, then I disagree. In that case I love organized religion. Next time you hear that from a nonbeliever, agree with him/her and make the case that we should start organization with helping the helpless.


  1. yeah I've been hearing those stirrings/murmurings from people for the past few years. I agree with them about 90% of the time too.... but where I disagree with them is they've lost hope that God can move in all situations... and I haven't. I have a passion to see the Body restored and the local church unified in their love for Him. I have a passion to see us repent of our power issues, our self-idolatry, our idol of ambition & worldly success. and I believe the local chruches can do this. I know that with God all things are possible and that God can use imperfect structures, imperfect people & imperfect scenarios to move people, stir people, and draw people to Him.

    Sure, there will be better ways to do things, no one movement has the 'edge' on how to do things above anybody else.... but my thing is just start SOMEWHERE. God can't steer a parked car... He wants you to do SOMETHING in some direction... not to wait for all the lights to be green everywhere. He says just GO. GO in whatever form that is. start somewhere.

    I'm surrounded by people who are doing everything they can to BE the church in an "organic" way....to truly worship Him, live for Him and be His hands & feet.... and that's where my heart is. BUT since I don't know exactly the form that it takes at all times or what it looks like -- I have to bloom where I am planted and journey with those that God puts into my path.

    Ultimately --- the church is in us. The Kingdom is here, (pointing to self) right here ...as in our hearts... but to unify people geographically in local congregations to be more organized is a great thing. to use our gifts for the "common good" as the Bible says.

    70% of the unchurched say they will *never* step foot in a church building.... so if all we're doing is inviting people into a building -- we're only gonna ever reach 30% and leave the 70% behind.... BUT if we LIVE the church every DAY.... as we invest into people's lives.... those chances/percentages change a lot. When you prove to people that the church is not the building --- then they will come to the Sunday gathering, as well as the other things that the church is doing.

    When you prove to them that the church wants to FREE them and doesn't want to control them... those numbers change drastically.

    When you show them that you care first about HIM and 2nd about OTHERS and 3rd and last - about your own little church.... then their hearts open.

    When people hear the truth --- that there is a God that loves them and wants a personal relationship with them... that He wants them to turn to Him... they will be saved AND then they need to be taught that they are part of a bigger Body. They are not connected to God through the church.... BUT they are connected to the church BECAUSE of their relationship with God. When that's the 2 central teaching --- it diffuses the perceived power of the church and lets people gather without expectation, without power issues. You don't need the church to connect to God.... you are part of the church because of your relationship with Him. The church is to live for God, to worship Him, to glorify Him... and to encourage each other, feed the flock and learn to LOVE and GET OVER OUR OURSELVES by being in relationship with others!! ]

    Once people connect to God, if they read the Bible, they will learn we are all part of the Body and have to work together. The Bible says, "how dare the foot say it doesn't need the hand"... although God saves us individually - He commands that we are NOT to have an individual faith --- we are called to be His bride, beautiful & pure. A people desiring to glorify HIM and put HIM first. A people devoted to allowing the Holy Spirit to change us into becoming the beautiful pure bride that Christ deserves.

    **** steps off soapbox ****

  2. sorry I totally over took your blog. I would have just emailed you. but I didn't know your email.

    but truly, the majority of my friends are following this, "anti-organized-religion" thing..... and it's free-ing a lot of people . But once those people find God (60% out there believe there is a personal God)....they want to gather with other believers - but don't like the old way of gathering.... there needs to be a balance.. a middle ground needed here. There needs to be some organization. Some way to get the Body organized. More opportunities other than a Sunday thing.

    I don't think people are against gathering and meeting others in the Body... I think people are against how the church has done things for too long:

    1. not putting God first, others 2nd, ourselves last
    2. operating the Body of Christ like a busines
    3. being self-focused
    4. training people to be self-focused and that it's all about them.
    5. putting unbiblical expectations (rules) on others based on *our* interpretation of scripture
    6. not edifying other parts of The Body
    7. focusing on building a local church and not the kingdom
    8. focusing all week long on one day a week. forgetting we are the Body every day, every minute.
    9. not being good stewards of our time & money while there are people suffering & starving all around us.

    **steps off soapbox again**