XXXI: Failed Institution


GreetingsHands

Written in a form coinciding with political ideologies and humanities lack of conviction; I type this with sorrowful hands, a trembling heart, and a burning soul.

The institution has failed.

Perhaps one of the more polarizing pieces of publication written in the past five years churns alive on the screen. Trying to appropriately find the justification and words to transcribe the flowing thought of organic opinions is a struggle in these lazy hours of life. However, the truth needs to be shared with the public. The reality is that the institution has failed.

What is the institution? It isn’t a government, a system, agency or even a group of people. It’s a thought process, it’s a standard, it’s a form that has been recycled over the years in repetition without qualm of the people. Now, the cracks are showing, the people are vacating, and true images and colors are being displayed.

The institution…is the Church.

The institution has failed.
The Church has failed.
We have failed.

It’s troubling and nearly feeling sacrilegious in typing such troubling words. But, what else do you do when your heart breaks? When your soul is crushed? When the idea of love disappears, replaced with jealousy, rage, and hypocrisy? The truth is, the largest population in the land that I call home has left church…and they’re currently of no interest in returning.

Why are we ignoring this reality? I can walk into nearly any church today and get my fix of guitars, pianos, organs, and choirs. I can hear redemption, education, “three points and a poem”, and walk out the door. If this new generation doesn’t enjoy the comfort of fast food, why would they settle for the same of their spiritual guidance?

I’ve been in church of some sort since I was seven years old; I even went to a Christian affiliated university. I took courses on theology, studied my brain out of history of Christianity, argued nearly every denomination, and finally obtained degrees mixing sociology with a global faith. Yes, I am the person that sounds the bells when I see the failures of our past and our present. Out of twelve people inside a core youth group I was apart of when in high school, only two are currently active in their church (we’re all adults now). That was from a church in a town of 1200. What happened to the rest? Why did they stop, and why are we not going after them?

Currently, as reported by the Pew Research Center, Christians within my own homeland have decreased by nearly 10%. Much of this is being attributed to the Millennial generation not going to church, not seeing its importance, and not necessarily being reached.

From the person who struggles to step into the building each Sunday; it isn’t because of politics, it isn’t because of ease of access, it isn’t because of lack of coffee shops, it’s the struggle of feeling wanted, needed, and reminded that our objective it to rely on God and change the world.

That is my personal conviction, my sin if it’d gloss over the image a bit better. I can’t get enough of God. He guides me, He loves me, and man He takes care of me when I continue to screw up as some awful, trashy piece of human that I am. He picks me up, He cares for me, and He reminds me that I’m worth it.

The Church no longer does.

Can you imagine the strange sensation of being attached to your Father, knowing that God is the way, the truth, the life, the…everything. At the same time, nearly in a split personality, the idea of congregating with other people to hear about the political spectrum, reused candid terminology that establishes Christians similar to corporate jargon, and to repeat it weekly…really, what’s the point?

Yes, you cannot grow in your faith without the construct of the Church body (check out 1 Corinthians for a glimpse of that reality), but are we growing when we do arrive? That’s not just a corporate question, but a personal one.

I have seen cities created, societies manipulated, and hope delivered to millions. I’ve witnessed advancements in health and technology, assisting the people of this world. I’ve seen economies grow and cultures thrive. Now, why are the current leaders of those magnificent concepts no longer a part of the body of Christ? Why do we ignore the elephant in the room, and turn a blind eye to the fact that below our Sunday School/Small Group classes of 30-40 year olds; below that…it gets rather sparse in population.

I caution the Church. If you do not invest in the current fleeing generation, they will make no attempt to return. Additionally, understand that a return isn’t about their number in your box at your church; it’s about the return of understanding God’s love.

Perhaps we’re just a little too focused on us.
Perhaps we’re just a little out of touch.
Perhaps our arrogance has been called by the largest population on this planet.

We have nothing to show for these realizations except the opportunity to apologize, to ask for forgiveness, and to go forward and continue to reach this beautifully flawed world.

-D-

XXXI: Broken Judgemental Hearts


Tonight, with the internet finally running, I was planning on giving some details into the moving process that Darco and I just went through over the past week. However, something took place this evening that gripped my heart to the point that even the joys of moving cannot trump such an event.

I am an awkward individual. How I walk, talk, and even write, so please bare with me if something just seems…well…awkward.

This is new territory for me.

Darco and I were visiting with a family member of whom we love dearly. It’d be months since we had seen them, and Darco took some time to ensure that they saw our new living arrangement. When I got home from work (and later running), we chatted, ate, and just had a fun time sharing stories of the oddities that we conclude are indeed our lives.

Towards the end of the evening, they began to prepare to leave. It was about that time that Darco looked at them, and simply asked, “Well, aren’t you going to tell him?” I, stuffing myself with food, was curious as to what the conversation was about. I noted that they were holding a artistic illustration of a name that I assumed was associated with them.

They started to giggle.
They started to avoid.
They stated, “He’ll make fun of me”.
They said, “He won’t like it”.

It was about that time, thank you education world, that I started putting the pieces together. Our loved one is holding onto a drawing of someone’s specific name. They’re laughing, making comments such as, “But, we’re not yet, so I can’t say it…”

That’s when something came out along the lines of, “She’s not my girlfriend…officially…yet.”

In one unique way, or another…a child (younger than me) who I love dearly, frankly (to put into awkward, politically correct terminology) came out of the closet tonight.

My heart shattered.

Not because of the desire of the wanted love, relationship, etc…
Not because I was so disappointed in their “LIFE CHOICES”…

Because they were afraid of my reaction.
Because, somewhere, they were afraid of judgement.
Because I go to church. Because I’m the Christian. Because somewhere, somehow there’s this disillusion that I’m inherently going to condemn anyone who is gay, anyone who is a Democrat, anyone who votes wrong, anyone…well…period.

I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m spiteful.

That reaction, that reaction is exactly why I struggled in college. I didn’t want to be grouped, I didn’t want to be identified as “judgemental”. I look at Christ and the only judgement I see from Him tends to be towards religious hypocrites. If I’m to be Christ-like then how on earth could I justify that kind of condemnation towards a soul that I love dearly?

It makes no sense.

It’s an everyday reality.

This is what makes my blood boil. When Christian’s cause more damage for God’s kingdom compared to the glory that we’re to bring God. It makes me angry, a righteous zeal towards the religious elite. These are those moments when I’m happy that I’m divorced, that I’m a failure, that I’ve caused so much pain for my God. Because I’m able to look at the rest of the world and realize there isn’t a inch of my body that could justifiably be placed higher than any other human.

My life is forced humility. How could I dare bring myself to judge? What has that young child witnessed that’d cause them to ‘joke’ about being looked at differently because of a choice they’ve made? Where does it say Jesus would do that?!?! Where would it say my loving, caring Father would treat His own in that nature!?!?

Show me in the red text.
Show me the verse.
Show me where my God gave up.
Show me when my Savior told me to condemn those who are looking for hope.

Until I see that…
Until I hear His voice saying that…

I will love those closest to me. I will care for those who fear the rejection. I will house the lost.

I. Was. No. Different.

-D-

XXXI: For The Ladies


This is for the ladies…

To pull an old adage from church camp, “This has been something that’s been on my heart”. It has been for some time, but I’ve been hesitant to say anything about it due to the multiple based and biased opinions that could resonate with the thoughts that I have been thinking over the time. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Moves Like Jenner


Similar to so many other blogs inside the world wide web, I don’t tend to go off into political/current events with opinions too often. It’s more boring than anything else, but I also tend to dislike the strong distaste of viewpoints in this collectively screwed up world that we’re all strapped onto.

With that said, I must admit that this ordeal with Mr…Mrs…Ms…Jenner is rather rocking my brain at the moment. Part of me doesn’t understand the whole “heroic complex” that he’s been labeled with for randomly deciding that he’s a she, not a he, and demonstrating it through reconstructive surgery. Up front, I don’t understand any of that, and my brain isn’t really programmed to understand it either. I just eat popcorn and watch the show unfold. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Passing By


There’s a couch in the front of the church that Darco and I attend. It’s grey, themed with the carpet and accented by the red chairs.

Darco is teaching Sunday School, 5 year olds to be precise, the atrium is filled with football scores and school scandals…some things just can’t be ignored.

I am an alien, a foreigner to this place. I do not exist in this realm, spinning webs of a world that I do not partake in. It’s about contests and competitions, winning, losing, and finding truth between the lies. As the sojourner I merely observe, finding struggles of integration. Perhaps I’m in need of rehabilitation, finding ways to operate within this space.

Instead, it only takes one, two individuals to speak with a forced sense of communication for me to relocate back to reality. Listening to their fears, concerns, and their heart reminds me that I’m human after all.

These are my Sunday mornings.

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


Try to understand my taste in music…

I know; it isn’t easy.

Check this out:
I’m the only one in the office tomorrow. Everyone else is quite literally out of town. So that’s 10,000 square feet, a lake, and myself for the entire day.
On top of that, Darco and I get to rock out at Bible study again tomorrow evening. Something that we’re both pretty pumped about.
Finally, by doing my favorite thing in the world [retweeting random things] I just nailed two free tickets to the band that is embedded above for tomorrow night in town at 9:00 PM!

Boom! Bam! Thank you ma’am!

That’s a day that hasn’t even started worthy of getting some praise action on!

-D-

XO: History Repeating


I’m sitting with Darco at dinner this evening. Storms off in the distance and greasy cheeseburger in my hand. We have been getting better about not always talking about work, and instead we were talking about religion, theology, and the Bible.

God’s sense of irony is never-ceasing.

Darco had made a comment in regards to Jesus hanging out with the worst of the worst when it came to the sinners. He chilled with tax collectors, and even had a conversation with a prostitute; not real common for the time [compared to today at least]. He rebuked the pharisees hardcore. He just didn’t tolerate the crazy, sinful desires of a hypocritical leader. That wasn’t His style.

That’s when it dawned on me…

I’m not Jesus.

Though I do strive to be like Him on a daily basis [only to fall short frequently]. I continued to think, and mull over the words that Darco had stated and history itself came back to visit.

What if…
Now go with me here…
What if…
The American Church has become the growing equivalent of the religious leaders of Jesus’s time. Pastors are kicking out members, members are shunning non-members, and money is quickly becoming a priority along with carpet color, organs, and stained glass windows.

Physical church bodies fuss with other buildings, and a town of 5,000 people may have 25 different churches. Something for every flavor of the people who refuse to get along. It’s a line drawn between youth and adult, guitars and pianos, baptisms and sprinkling. NIV and KJV are three letter words thrown around as theological profanity, and forbid that someone new walks into the building.

Stop.
Stare.
Judge.
Move on.

This is the church. It isn’t Christ’s bride, it’s the reaccurance of a curse that He lifted two thousand years ago. The once lost and wicked are the ones tossing lots, heading accusations, and never understand that they haven’t changed from where they started. Allow Europe to be the example of where past follies lead in the religious sect. Show the haunting, empty, vacant corpses of stone buildings that string along the streets; never to be filled for worship again.

Where did the pharisees wind up? What happened to them? What was the outcome of them versus Christ?

I caution the American Church; heed history’s warning signs.

-D-