Years ago Donald Miller wrote a book called Blue Like jazz. It’s nothing like the movie. At all. But anyway, it was a seminal look into a generation of evangelical kids tired of evangelicalism. Very valuable book. It had many ah ha moments in it when I said “ahhh, that’s what they were thinking… ok.”
Recently Don blogged something about not going to church and it set the evangelical world on fire. It was all predictable and old news. On the one side Don said, look the way church has evolved in America is a different animal than church in the New Testament, going to church isn’t the same thing as Christian community, and people being paid by today’s church have a vested interest in it staying the same and you coming. The other things he expressed were old news to anyone familiar with his generation. And most all of their feelings are legit. I mean, do you know HOW MANY people out there have had the worst possible experiences AT CHURCH and CHURCH has been their biggest barrier to relationship with God? I wouldn’t expect this to set the blogosphere on fire.
Something else predictable. The evangelicals, sold hard core on the current mode of church (whichever one they happen to do), brought their usual list of responses. “You’ll go to hell if you don’t go to church; it’s spiritual suicide; the Bible says to; it’s about God, not you, etc etc etc.” Boring.
It’s no wonder the emergent/postmodern crowd is largely done with the modern evangelical church and started their own stuff or went to the mainline Protestant or Catholic options. It’s the same old lines, and an apparent total disconnect with why people get tired of the modern church. I’ve had really good experiences with church down through the years, and I pastor one of the best ones I’ve ever seen in action, but I’d have to be crazy to not understand the postmodern problem with church. I’m not gonna wax eloquent on all that, but I will just say this. On this whole “it’s about God, not you” thing… GOD is certainly not so co-dependent, insecure and unsure of Himself that He needs us to come together and tell Him how great He is and that He really will be ok, and make Him feel better about Himself on a regular basis. If God WERE that insecure, He wouldn’t be worth following. Church, it turns out, is not for God’s sake – it IS for ours. And the good of the world God loves.
As one good man said, “I don’t believe in organized religion. I believe in religion organizing for the common good.”