October 4, 2009

For the Church-Is-Lame-Crowd

I read this quote the other day on JD Greear's blog. It is from the book Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion.
"...But then again, consistency is not a postmodern virtue.  And nowhere is this more aptly displayed than in the barrage of criticisms leveled against the church. 
The church-is-lame crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love.  They bemoan the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing.  They don't like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then hate it when it has poor leadership.  They wish the church could be more diverse, but then leave to meet in a coffee shop with other well-educated thirtysomethings who are into film festivals, NPR, and carbon offsets.  They want more of a family spirit, but too much family and they'll complain that the church is "inbred."  They want the church to know that its reputation with outsiders is terrible, but then are critical when the church is too concerned with appearances.  They chide the church for not doing more to address social problems, but then complain when the church gets too political.  They want church unity and decry all our denominations, but fail to see the irony in the fact that they have left to do their own thing because they can't find a single church that can satisfy them.  They are critical of the lack of community in the church, but then want services that allow for individualized worship experiences.  They want leaders with vision, but don't want anyone to tell them what to do or how to think.  They want a church where the people really know each other and care for each other, but then they complain the church today is an isolated country club, only interested in catering to its own members.  They want to be connected with history, but are sick of the same prayers and same style every week.  They call for not judging "the spiritual path of other believers who are dedicated to pleasing God and blessing people," and then they blast the traditional church in the harshest, most unflattering terms."
 I am not sure I agree with everything implied by this. I would need to read the rest of the book to make a decision...because I do think there are some things that need to change in the Church. But I am also completely aware of the tensions and hypocrisy that is inherent in taking a stand for or against anything. If you are not doing something because you have found it to be a biblical mandate...you might be doing it for the wrong reasons. What do you think about the quote?


  1. This bothers me and I would have to read the book, but from the excerpt I don't think I want to give my money to this guy to read this. I don't have enough information to understand his premise well enough to comment intelligently but I can say I disagree with some of the things he is saying. I also think he's doing nothing but listing generalities and some of these areas ARE problems for particular churches and for "the Church." I think his label of the "church-is-lame" crowd is insulting and patronizing. I believe change is good because it keeps you moving in a new and hopefully better direction, as long as that direction is biblical and not self-serving. I also have no problem with those who complain as long as they have valid solutions to the problem. Again, I'm not too impressed by this and would not buy this book based on this snippet - I might read your copy though. LOL

  2. I haven't given my money for the book either :)

    I do know he is addressing those who don't want anything to do with "organized" religion, He is also possibly addressing what has become known as the emerging church.

    As a note of irony, though, it always interesting to see those church plants that start out to "not be like your grandma's church" and yet when they are done really are just the same church with the same problems only having a new set of clothes.