Saturday, January 14, 2006

Why I Don't Like Church

I've had 30 years of church experience; from megachurch to small church to house church. I've tried different size churches because I thought the size of the church might have a lot to do with the quality of the church. But after seeing that all structures (large and small) have their weakness, I decided that quality of a church has more to do with its attitude than its size.

One mistake that churches often make is in thinking that their purpose is to dispense information. In their mind they have the truth, and since Jesus said that truth sets us free, then all they have to do is educate the ignorant with the truth of the Bible.

But that simple mindset starts a snowball effect of legalism and hurt. This kind of thinking implies that we (those with the truth) are right and everyone else is wrong. People need to listen to us because we have the truth. If people don't listen to us, they hate the truth and are bad. Because they are bad we can exclude them and openly ridicule them. See what I mean? This happens in churches all the time. And that's why I don't like church (at least when I see this happen).

Lots of people turn up at Cedarbrook after experiencing some kind of church abuse. I've heard all kinds of awful stories about how churches have treated people who didn't believe right or act right. I'm amazed that these people even consider returning to church.

The purpose of the church isn't to dispense information. The purpose of the church is to love the world like Jesus did. Jesus said that he didn't come to judge the world but to save it. He laid down his life for the world.

When the world sees us laying down our lives in order to serve others then they will know that we have the truth. They'll know that we have the truth because they will see that we ARE set free. We've been set free from our independence and selfishness allowing us to love others. When they see that, maybe then they'll listen to what we have to say. But I don't think too many people are listening to the church that is merely pushing information.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Kingdom of Heaven: the movie

As I've browsed the movies for rent I've been intrigued by the movie, "The Kingdom of Heaven". I hadn't heard much about it so I never wanted to risk renting it. But the other night my options were limited so I took the risk.

I was pleasantly surprised. The acting was excellent and I found it a fascinating overview of the Crusades. Now, before you run out and rent it, you need to know that it's rated R for violence. In the spirit of "Braveheart" you'll see a lot of bloody mass battle scenes. So don't say I didn't warn you! But I learned a lot. The Crusades are something that a lot of people refer to but know nothing about.

I didn't know the history, that Muslims governed Jerusalem until the Pope decided they should be driven out. And the politics and factions of the crusaders was interesting. Plus the siege of Jerusalem was interesting from a historical standpoint.

But in addition to the history, the contrasting religious views was interesting as well. The tension between opposing religious ideologies still exists today and so the lessons are very relavent.

It's definitely not a "chick-flick" (although there is a love story intertwined). So know that. But if you like action, historical accuracy, a religious theme and ethical dilemma's in your movie, this is worth the time.

By the way, be sure to look at some of the dvd extra's. There's an excellent documentary from the History Channel called "History vs. Hollywood" that goes into the history of the Crusades.