Updated on October 5, 2014
Updated on October 5, 2014
My kids and many of their peers want nothing to do with “Organized Religion.” You know what? I don’t want anything to do with “Organized Religion” either.
It’s helpful to understand what the term “Organized Religion” means to them. I don’t think they really know, but what I believe they are referring to is the church they grew up in. The church with walls. The church with walls and people who go there on the weekend. They see the churches they grew up in as places without real relevance for their daily lives. Which makes me ask questions, because as you may already know, I have a lot of them. (here are some of them)
What I am hearing and reading and sensing from the younger generation, is that they are looking for the church to be a church without walls and boundaries. Boundaries. Especially without boundaries. They don’t understand why our hearts and minds are so closed to those that are different from us. They can’t understand why sin keeps us from accepting and loving others.
Now before you go getting all defensive about this, let’s just talk about the way we talk about sin. Yes, sin. The kind that others have but we don’t. Oh we admit that we have sinned, we do sin and we will sin. But we talk about our sin as something that is covered by grace because we are “trying” to do better. It’s like the impact of our sin gets downgraded because we’re working hard at not sinning. Right? As if grace has to be worked for. Isn’t that what Jesus said, “The harder you work at being good the more of my grace and love you’ll have.” Oh, he didn’t say that?
So what that means is that as long as someone is “trying to do better” their sin is okay. Well not really okay, but not something that keeps us from accepting them into “the church.” But what about a great big sin? What about a sin like being gay. This generation of 20-somethings doesn’t want to talk about what is sin and what is not sin. What they DO want to talk about is equality and justice and freedom. They want to know what “the church” is doing about the problem of the homeless, the environment, corrupt governments and the hungry. They want to know why being gay is such a big deal and why people have to become something they cannot be in order to be acceptable.
So, as I see it, the church as we know it is missing out on a whole generation of bright thinkers because we are more concerned about the appearance of condoning sin than we are about the appearance of loving our neighbor. We are willing to lose them as a sacrifice for being right.
I don’t know about you, but I’m an NOT okay with that!
Call me a condoner. Call me a compromiser. Isn’t that what I’m doing? I’m willing to compromise truth for the sake of making someone feel good, right? As I see it, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love I am like a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.” What that says to me is this:
Our love will speak louder than any hard-lined truth telling ever could.
These kids are standing there with their fingers in their ears saying “LALALALALALA! I’m not listening! You’re not talking! I don’t want to hear what you have to say. Show me what you DO!”
So what about speaking the truth and pointing out sin? What about standing up for our values? What about taking a stand against sin that will infiltrate the church? What about…? The list goes on. You may not agree with me, but I believe our job is to love as Jesus loves. Period. That’s it. Let the Holy Spirit do his job in bringing others into relationship with Jesus. If they have issues that God wants to deal with in their lives, trust HIM with that and you do your job of loving.
The legalism that still permeates so much of the church our kids grew up in will keep them from relationship with Christ. Plain and simple. So are we more concerned about keeping the sinners out, and the whole lot of young people too, or are we going to BE “The Church” and open our hearts wide to all people despite their sin?
I know there are many in this generation that will follow the faith they were raised in. That’s a wonderful and beautiful thing. But I also believe God is raising up people who will be the church to these young people who won’t settle for their parents faith. I believe that somewhere, someone has a heart for being the church without walls for this generation. My question for God is this:
What part do you want ME to play?
And my question for you. What part will you play?