Did you catch Bono (U2) speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast last week? He had some great things to say about social justice. He drew a great distinction between charity and justice. I encourage you to read the whole text (link below). But he started out talking about why he doesn't like church...
I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here—Muslims, Jews, Christians, all are searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God. I know I am. Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.
Yes, it's odd, having a rock star here—but maybe it's odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line. Where the line between church and state was… well, a little blurry, and hard to see.
I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.
For me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native land… and in this country, seeing God's second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels, offering indulgences for cash… in fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishment…
I must confess, I changed the channel. I wanted my MTV. Even though I was a believer. Perhaps because I was a believer. I was cynical… not about God, but about God's politics. Bono (click for link to entire text )
I can't blame him for his cynacism. I've shared the same feelings at various times. But the Bible paints a picture of church for me that has made me a flaming idealist. For my thoughts on how church can be something you are willing to give your life to see my recent sermon series.