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

WHAT CAN I DO?

What can I do? This is a question I am regularly asked when I teach about human trafficking and poverty in our world? What I am discovering is, many who say this really don’t want the answer?

The issues touch the heart of emotion but often times go no further than feelings of anger or sorrow for those involved.  People with these feeling will say, “I want to get involved and make a difference but what can I do?” it amazes me how many of these folks take no action beyond that conversation.  Even when given simple practical things that could make a real tangible difference.

I wonder what the sticking point is?

Would the response be different if they woke up and discovered that it was their child who had just been trafficked and was being raped 15 -20 times per night? Would their action and response be different if it was their child who faced daily poverty and vulnerability?

It is my bet, and personal experience, that action is often attached to proximity of pain.  We tend to change everything when the reality hits home.  Finances seem to no longer be an excuse, time no longer stands in our way, fear of speaking out no longer chokes us up, when it is our daughter.

Often times now when people ask me what they can do to make a difference my answer is simply, “if it was your daughter what would you want someone else to do? Do that.”

If your daughter was vulnerable would you want someone to give to reduce the vulnerability…  Then Give

If it was your son or daughter and you knew that 35 dollars a month would reduce your child’s vulnerability, provide him/her with an education, provide him/her with clean water and medicines, would you pray for someone to do that…

Someone is praying that prayer!  Will you do for one of these kids what you would want someone else to do if it were your son or daughter.

For $35 per month you can do just that. www.teamworldvision.org/Kilimanjaro

Please don’t ask, “what can I do and then do nothing.” and if it is not this find something and make a difference in your world.