Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Prologue: Why church needs to change

This is the heaviest thing on my mind lately, and and this is like a manifesto on Christian fellowship. These are a few quick points where I see change is needed:

I'm coming to this place where I find it increasingly difficult to "go to a church"1 that is rich. Jesus had a lot of harsh things to say about the rich, let alone what James had to say. But when the poor are shuffled to the back of the building during worship, and when the congregation does nothing to reach out to the poor and oppressed, I don't know if that is really worship at all.

James 1:27 says that true worship is caring for the poor and widow in their distress. If a congregation is not doing that, what are they doing?

While so many congregations here in the valley keep trying to bring in more rich people, they are pushing out the poor. Instead of taking James 5 to the streets of Mecca - where the farm workers are living in shanties with open sewers - we're taking a casual, cuddly approach to some twisted Gospel to the mansions of Indian Wells.

I don't know a church in the valley (excluding the Christian Scientist and Unitarian communities) that are reaching out to the large gay and lesbian community here. Jesus hung with the lepers and I don't know of one faith-based AIDS outreach here.

There is only one missionary for every six congregations in the United States. Are we more concerned about entertaining our Christian youth groups than saving souls, and caring for the needy?

I think I wrote too much here, but it's what's been going through my mind. Baby steps.

I need help. more than anyone.

1. This is in quotes because it is in common vernacular but is a misnomer - it is really "communion with the saints"


~JOSh-X said...

The word "worship" in James 1:27 in Greek is 'Threskeia'

There are a few different meanings, I guess...

1. religious worship
a. esp. external, that which consists of ceremonies
2. religious discipline, religion

Most versions that I read online use the word religion instead of worship. But I've heard this verse mentioned many times in connection with worship.

In fact, the word 'Threskeia' is a derivative form of the word 'Threskos' which means...

1. fearing or worshipping God
2. to tremble
a. trembling, fearful

Isaiah 1:13-17 points out some pretty challenging things...

(from the ESV translation)
(13) Bring no more vain offerings [...] I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. (14) Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. [...] (17) learn to do good;
seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Destroy:Ideas said...

Most versions do say "religion" but it can be interchanged.