Friday, November 09, 2007

They Like Jesus But Not the Church: Final Thoughts

Over the last two weeks, I've discussed Dan Kimball's book They Like Jesus But Not the Church. This week, I just want to end with a couple of things. First one is a question. Kimball lists 6 perceptions/misperceptions that nonChristians have about church.
  1. The church is an organized religion with a political agenda.
  2. The church is judgmental and negative.
  3. The church is dominated by males and oppresses females.
  4. The church is homophobic.
  5. The church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong.
  6. The church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally.
Which of these do you think is off base? None of them? All of them? Should the church change to correct these perceptions or are they misconceptions that only should be corrected by properly educating people about what it means to be a Christian?

One last thing. In the comments of last week's post, one poster noted that she gets "a little weary of the criticism by the 20's and 30's." I can understand that, especially as negative/cynical younger people can be about the church. However, what I would point out is some simple historical points:
  • Martin Luther was 34 when he was supposed to have nailed the 95 Theses to the Wittenburg Door.
  • John Calvin was 26 when he wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion.
  • Barton W. Stone was 32 when he helped author The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery.
  • Jesus himself brought his message from the ages of 30 to 33.
Perhaps we might do well to listen to what 20 and 30 somethings say. Whether we agree or not.

Next week, I take up Father Thomas' idea and I'll talk about worship, and why, specifically for me, it's been hard to worship for the last couple of years.


belinda said...

In my opinion, the church has tried too hard to accommodate folks. There's no pleasing everyone, no matter how hard you try. The church has a God-made plan and agenda.

Thomas+ said...

All those six things are true about some members of the church, and about the leaders of some congregations and denominations. And these things are not true about other churches and members and leaders. So, I guess you say your Serenity Prayer and keep on going.

Brian Hight said...

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to an interview with a Mulsim cleric on the BBC World Service. He maintained that it was perfectly justified for the (Muslem) church to preach against Western politics, because God (Allah) made everything, not just our spirits, so everything should be preached about. I thought is was an interesting reversal of the "seperation of church and state" doctrine of American thought.

brian hight said...

My wife and I went to a local Baptist church for several years, which, on most accounts was very good. However, in all that time, I only saw one woman help to take up the offering once. When I asked why women weren't regularly involved in this simple task, I was told that it would be good to change, but probably wouldn't happen!

At our local Baptist theological college, there were two paintings of women on the wall in a meeting room. One was caring for a child, and the other was a nurse. Implication is that women are accepted in ministry so long as they aspire to care-giving.

So, yes, there is a huge gap between men and women in the church.

Nedra Smith said...
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