My posts on Why I Don't Like Church got picked up by a national church leadership blog/newsletter (Monday Morning Insight). It's been interesting to read the dialogue (click the link. Most people posted their comments there and not here).
I was pretty amazed to read the negative comments. I didn't think my words were that radical. I probably should have qualified one of my statements by saying that the church has made a mistake by believing that their SOLE purpose is to dispense information. A lot of ministers were offended by the ommission of the word "sole". Yes, yes, we are called to preach the word - the truth. Of course. I'm just trying to bring some balance here because there are too many walking wounded and the wounder is the church!
I personally love information and thoughts. That's a weakness of mine and I'd guess of many preachers. So, before I preach I always have to ask myself, "Is this just cool information that I like or will this really breathe life into people looking for God?"
Paul said that "the letter kills but the Spirit brings life." That's exactly what I mean. If you understand Paul, you understand what I'm saying.
I think I'm more sensitized than some of my critics to this issue because I've had countless conversations with people that have been cast off by church. Whether they accurately perceived the insult or not (as one person posed) doesn't matter. What they are sensing is a disregard for their humanity. And that's what I was getting at with my post about Jesus yesterday. Jesus was able to pinpoint sin in people and they walked away encouraged or at least thoughtful, not wounded.
As it says in Hebrews, the Word of God is able to discern between soul and spirit...it's able to separate between sin and sinner. It's able to value the human while showing them the destructiveness of their thoughts and actions. We are not always so successful. And when that happens we dehumanize our audience. We invalidate not only their thoughts or actions but their very being. We may not have meant that but that's what they heard and that's why they are so wounded. We often miss this subtlety and often justify our positions as simply "preaching the truth of God". But we are missing something and losing people because of it.