The Church today – Christlike or Phariseelike?

I have been doing a great deal of thinking recently about the church in America and its reality.  Not what we say it is, not what we want it to be, but what it really is.  If we Unknown-2were to strip away the mask, and the cute phrases, and the nice sounding mission statements and looked at the reality of what is left what would we find.

Now, mind you I am not naive enough to say this is everyone everywhere and yes I am making some generalizations.  I am very well aware that there are MANY great Christians and “churches” that live it well.

However, I am coming to the conclusion that the “church” and “Christianity” in North America looks far more like a movement of Pharisees than it does a movement of “littlepharisee Christ’s” spreading across our cities.  To be a “holy” people is not to be a “holier than thou” people but to be a people who look like Jesus, act like Jesus, love like Jesus, serve like Jesus, go where Jesus went, and be Christ-like to the world around us not just to those within our faith family and for those who are like us.

The Pharisees were all about keeping the rules and staying away from certain groups of people.

Jesus was known as a friend of sinners and came eating and drinking with sinners and tax collectors.

Pharisees made laws to protect the laws.

Jesus was known for “breaking the laws” for the sake of loving the world around him.  Jesus loved and accepted people in spite of their behavior.

Why is it when we talk about “Holiness” do we automatically go to “not sinning” instead of being like Jesus.  If we are going to be like Jesus don’t we automatically have to look at who we are friends with.  Our church culture has used words like “sanctification” and “Holiness” to separate us from the world around us and therefore make us more like Pharisees than like Jesus.  “Sanctification” and “Holiness” should be calls to enter relationships with the very people who need to see the Love of Jesus not the judgement, condemnation and laws of the Pharisees.

I would love your feedback to this question…

When you look at the church (generally speaking – from your perspective and connections) how would your rate the church on the scale of 1-10… 

(1) Looks like Jesus………………………………………………..Look like Pharisee (10)

(Non Judging, Friend of Sinners) …………………. (Separateness, judgment)

(Relational) ……………………………………………………………………… (Legal)

pharisee Unknown-2

The church – The embodiment of Christ

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

This is a quote that has shown up on bumper stickers and has been floating around for quite some time. So here is the thought….

Jesus the most holy person to walk the face of the earth was attracted to the most unholy and the most unholy were attracted to him. It was the religious of the day that were put off by Christ. Jesus was accused of being friends with sinners and tax collectors. He ate with them, hung out with them and was very comfortable being around those who had a lifestyle opposite his.

If the “church” is the embodiment of Christ why is it that the world is not attracted to the “church”?

Could it be that for many church is about talking about Christ vs. living like Christ. What would happen if the church became a family living like Christ in their neighborhood?

Neighbors would be attracted to Him. For when they see the church they would see Christ and Christ is attractive.

A collage of pics from our organic churches in Plano and McKinney

For more on this read my earlier post – “A picture of the church