Q Los Angeles 2013
Arts + Entertainment
Science + Tech
A Telling Confession Off I-10 Eastbound
In a fit of honesty or perhaps confession, a Christian church in Texas admitted last week that they’ve been anything but Christian. Christ Covenant Church in Beaumont, Texas purchased a prominent billboard on which they posted the following message: “What a bunch of jerks!”
As the church’s website declared
The church has failed. That’s right; we’ve messed up, big time. The church was SUPPOSED to be a reflection of the God it claimed to serve. The church was SUPPOSED to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. But, for the most part, the church has failed.
Our failure has left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Our mistakes have led to a lack of credibility. Our messes have caused people to seek answers for this life elsewhere. And really, who could blame people for giving up on the church? Ghandi had a very good point when he said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
. . . At Christ Covenant Church, do you know what our response is? Guilty as charged.
Last Friday, I was invited to respond to the gesture by CNN Headline News’s Mike Galanos:
confirms what the billboard attempts to acknowledge. The majority of young people in America indeed view Christians as judgmental, hypocritical, anti-gay, and too political, among other things. If the old proverb that “confession is the first step to repentance” then this may be more than a billboard off I-10 eastbound. It may be a sign that believers in a state where traditional Christianity still dominates are waking up to our post-Christian reality.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that every Christian church in America publicly confess their unchristian ways. I’m simply acknowledging that a new mindset is emerging throughout the church that might change the negative perceptions many have about us. Ultimately, I hope churches like Christ Covenant can not only admit their failings but embrace a new way of being Christian that might restore confidence in our faith.
Editor’s Note: In his new book,
The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America
, Gabe details six ways for Christians to engage our post-Christian society that is both faithful to the Gospel and winsome in our culture.
Buy it now and get a gift card for TOMS Shoes, music downloads, To Write Love on Her Arms merchandise, an Academy Award nominated short film and more
Amen! I appreciate what that church is going: being humble, transparent, and real. That's what a new generation expects from it's church.
I don't mind Christians in politics -- Jesus was heavy into social justice, after all -- but many Christians are pushing some decidedly un-Christian agendas.
Take care of the least of your brethren (try raising the minimum wage, and supporting universal healthcare) and support tolerance and diversity (Jesus ate with some pretty fringe folks).
And stop panicking and wigging out. If God really is on your side, then what the heck are you so afraid of?
This is great! Love that it's getting media too! Excited about the next Christians!
All Christians should EVALUATE their walk and allow Christ to correct where necessary!
Living with your neighbor does not mean condoning sin. I never hear you talk about being born again and asking God to forgive your sin. God does teach love the sinner,hate the sin. Why have we become such a passive generation when people are dying in their sin and going to hell for it. God is forgiving and compasinate but quick to condem for not accepting his son.
It's true that many people, young and old, have turned away from the church. What's the reason? Could it be that people don't like being offered the latest gimmick with no substance behind it? When people walk into a church building they expect something big. They expect God to come into their lives and make changes in them. They don't expect the latest marketing techniques, a program for every age group and cool entertainment. These things distract for awhile but leave people empty. The church can't beat the world at being worldly. Let's just strive for being Godly and leave the gimmicks behind. No one expects people to be perfect. They just want them to be moving in the right direction.
Ditto, Fred, ditto!!
I ditto Lynn dittoing Fred. Amen brother.
Thomas, it really seems like in that case hatred invariably ends up focused at people. I'm not sure whether this is a failure of how they are taught in the church, or the human mind. I'd be inclined to say some of both.
Jesus and the prophets didn't get murdered because they were sweethearts to everybody. There is a place in Christianity for harshness, and Jesus made it clear we would be hated (Luke 21:17). By default, the Christian message breeds one of two things: love or hate. Sometimes the truth is unavoidably painful, but that doesn't mean the truth should be avoided. At one point in the video, the interviewee said something like, "It's all about the tone." I agree, and I would add: it's also about discernment, knowing who needs building up and who needs their knees taken out from under them. The indiscriminate hate-mongering and dehumanizing behavior of some Christian groups has to stop (i.e. Westboro Baptist Church), but we cannot water down the realities of sin and repentance as integral to the gospel message (i.e. Joel Osteen). It's a dynamic tension.
I think most Christians my age (53) probably remember the word that kept circulating back in the early to mid-1980s: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chr. 7:14)
The popular misconception then (and perhaps now) is that "my people" applies to America. "My people" always meant the people of God, the church. If this mindset catches on, and it is truly sincere, then some significant changes can take place.
If Christians continue in their finger-pointing ways, then more and more people are bound to be alienated from the church. The only good that can come of that is a general rejection of the cracked and no longer supple wineskin that is the church now. But keep in mind that things will be tougher for the next generation despite the fact that the temple has been cleansed, so to speak.
I heard one of my professors say, "Don't talk about hell unless there are tears in your eyes."
-a good word I think...
Unless I am misunderstanding the meaning, what I am getting from the term "New Christians" is that there are people now being born who are for the first time since Jesus actually BEING Christians and accurately following Christ. I have to disagree. Paul is an obvious example from the Bible. God gives people the ability to serve Him correctly as they are sanctified. There also has been many Christians who have biblically presented the gospel and lived as an example. What my speculation is on how America would view Christians as jerks is that they are using the "Christians" who are failing to correctly walk in faith as an excuse to stay away from God. Facing sin in extremely uncomfortable.
I have to give an amen to Eliq in that he is starting on a subject that is almost gone from modern Christianity. And this is fear. FEAR of God. I heard an excellent example recently which compared the fear of God to the Grand Canyon. As you walk to the edge of the Canyon, you start feeling something inside of you that can be called fear. But you want more. You have to get closer and peek over the edge. You have to see and experience in awe the majesty of the canyon right on the edge. The same is with God. We should fear Him. But this fear is so odd that we HAVE to get closer and know Him. We have to do something to conform with this awe we are feeling when we get close to Him
I think people are right to call the most church people hypocrites. I am a youth pastor and I am discussed with what is going on the churches today. I think one of the problems comes from being to judgmental. There is a big difference in judging the sin and judging the person. For example my Dad had cancer. I HATE cancer, but I love my dad. I can not hate my dad because of the cancer. So many churches are "religious people" spend most of their time and ministry judging people, and they leave little time to love them. What ever happed to the Agape love, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE?
We should call sin like homosexuality, killing, stealing adultery etc what God calls it, SIN. But we should also take to heart that those people are no different that I am. I was once lost in sin but now I am a new person. Only because of the love of Jesus in my life. We should love sinners with the love that God prescribes and then they will see the difference.
Churches and religious people need to get ride of the pride and bitterness. They need to stop replacing Gods Holy Word with personal preference.
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Posting a billboard sign is cool, as long as it does not stop there, we need a real revival in our hearts.
Good point Michael.
Is there a way to get this interview on DVD or download? I think showing this to my small group and asking what they think would be a great way to get the heart of the matter (how we are personally behaving) and start a great conversation around this. I would love to be able to share this.
@Daron, unfortunately, we don't have a way to do that because of being a CNN link. I think copying the link and emailing it to them in advance might be the best way to go.
If a billboard will help ,people,to think? Amen, brothers! EVERYBODEE talkin' -mostly
shit- did I say I cared what you think? So say something so all will hear it. Beleive in it. live in it.
Leave a Comment
Please keep me informed with the latest updates from Q
ALSO BY GABE LYONS
Protecting Counselors Amid "Conversion Therapy" Debate
What Is the Q Conference?
ALSO IN CHURCH
Live the Gospel, Restore the World
by Q Ideas
What Healthy and Unhealthy Trends Exist in the American Church Today?
by Q Panel
Gay Rights and Religious Liberties
by Skye Jethani
© 2013 Q |