“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
~ Brennan Manning
If you grew up in a Christian home and listened to any DC Talk, you’ve probably heard that quote from the Jesus Freak CD. What is Manning talking about when he says that? Well, look at the world around us, look at the political arguments, the wars, the starving people, the crime. Observe the hatred that people demonstrate, soak it all in. Read the news, go to Middle East section of BBC. Look at the world and say to yourself that it needs God.
Now. Look at the church. Look at the infighting, compare our government’s politics to the church’s. Of course, there aren’t physical wars with soldiers, tanks, and well armed militias marching through the pews, but go to a church where the traditionalists have split with the reformists. Ask them to sit down and talk about their differences civilly. Tell me how that goes for you.
The world does not want to go to a place where the graveyard and the carpet are bigger issues than reaching the homeless. The world wants a place that meets their physical needs, genuinely cares for them, and reaches their spiritual needs.
The world needs God. That much is obvious to any Christian who reads their Bible. The world does not need the church, it needs God to work through the church. It needs the people of the church to reach out to it, care for it, love it. The church is merely the tool, but like any tool, it must be maintained to function properly. So, when a tool is made up of many parts, those parts need to work correctly. People of the church, you are those parts. The church isn’t working right. So, we need to ask ourselves… What parts aren’t working right? What do we need to do to fix them?
Now, don’t take this to mean that the entire Christian church system is messed up. There are churches out there who are genuinely trying to make a difference, they acknowledge Christ with their lips, walk out the door, and live by their word. Those are the people that we need to make a change. If we lived by what we preached, the world would be a perfect place. But right now, the world only sees a hypocritical, illogical collection of religious weirdos. We need to change the world’s perception of the church, to do so, we need to change how the church relates to the world. We need to get rid of that label of hypocrite. “Religious weirdo” is a bit harder to drop, but you know what? If those weirdos are helping the poor, feeding the hungry, and taking care of the world, then does it matter what people call them? If the church wants to change the world, it first has to change itself.