State of the Union vs. State of the Church

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Word of Encouragement

The political climate is heating up and both parties are weighing in on what they think are the main issues we need to tackle in today’s economy, society, and ever-changing culture. At the basis of these bi-partisan arguments are codes of ethics, financial strategies, and years of bias attitudes leaning to conservative  or liberal slants. President Obama is calling for a more unified government focused more on better fiscal standings that effect the future greatly. He has taken a lot of flack, and if my opinion matters he could stand to continue focusing on subject matters he said he would handle at the beginning of his presidency.

I’m sad to say the state of the union and  its dismal outlook is  mixed with signs of hope, sort of like a beacon of light off in the distance. The light is shallow, flickering, and many of us are optimistic because we remember brighter days . Fingers are pointed, judgments are made, and emotions run high as America’s future is on the line in many areas. The problems are very apparent, it’s the solutions that people differ on.

History never fails to teach us lessons, it usually repeats itself, and what seems to be happening is that throwing money in the wrong direction is not getting to the root cause of the problems. Well structured programs, budget cuts, and new inventive ways are needed to turn things around.  We require new inventive ways that stay close to base models that have  proven effective.

Almost synonymous to the state of the union, is the state of the Church. Factions, denominations, and many leaders calling Christ as their Savior can’t seem to come to a consensus on where to take the problems of a nation, and most importantly a broken world, head on. Some see getting church attendance as the answer, some view missions as the greatest calling, and still others see political or social involvement as the most relevant direction to move in.

The state of the church is in quite a disarray just as our nation is. Different manifestations of disorder are apparent in the church, but the emergent leaders of the Western Church are citing the biggest problems are not problems dealing with the lack of activism or a lapse in intellectual capacities, but a false impression of the body, and a bad perception from the outside world who already looks through a tarnished looking glass at fragmented  and broken parts of a whole.

The perception of the Western Church is that of a non sympathetic body of people, who have no real heart for the things that matter to the people they are supposed to be serving. Widows, orphans, and the poor are the last on the Church’s mind, and the hot button issues are at the fore-front. Typically they are abortion, homosexuality, sex before marriage, and whether or not the local church will reach mega-church status in 5 years. Whether its the U.S. economy or God’s economy how the people receive its message and credo is largely due in part to societal cues and it’s leaders and  the more easily identifiable followers. We as a church must be an image of Christ here on Earth.

We can blame the economy on Reagonomics, Bill Clinton, Two Bushes, or Obama. We can blame the Dems, Republicans, or the  negative political banter that has made the headlines in light of the Tucson, Arizona shooting involving Gabrielle Gifford and an attempted assassination by Jared Loughner. The bail out was not just for the corporations but also for all the citizens across the nation who thought they could just put responsibility on credit, who were represented to be  innocent bystanders that had no part in the economy tanking the way it did. We all share some responsibility in this, even though it may not be our fault, this is what we sign on for when we become apart of a larger union, and we all have to pick up our proverbial shovel and bucket and put our backs into it.

As Christians we are tempted to blame negative conceptions of “us” on the Catholic Church or the Jerry Falwells of our time. In general, those claiming to be followers of Christ  who are committing the sins that make others wonder about this faith,that tend to make the headlines,  give us glimpses yet again of evidences of “the fall” .

All brothers and sisters serve a purpose in God’s kingdom, and not one person can take ultimate responsibility for how the world sees Christ’s Church, whether good or bad. A fair assessment in my opinion is that the Gospel has not been central in the lives of Christians in our Western world today. Christ’s Church, whether we are protestant, catholic, or any other denomination is our responsibility to take care of. We are to be the hands and feet of Christ, to be representative of Christ’s Good News, which sets us free, not just from ourselves for ourselves, but for the rest of the body and then for the world.

The state of the Christian Church unites on this non-exhaustive list. Creativity, Prayer, Fasting, REAL Community, Love, Passion for God’s Heart, a Christ like attitude towards cultural arenas, piety, Biblical understanding, vision, LOVE (can’t emphasize that enough).

I think that if our future as a Church is going to give off that little flicker of light, then it has to begin with unity being something of a perceived goal rather than an afterthought of a select few of “Next Christians” Gabe Lyons describes. Rob Bell talks about giving dreams feet, Mark Driscoll says lets put an end to the idolatry killing our souls, and the 9 Marks guys are saying lets get back to basics.

Is there any reason we can’t make a difference here this side of heaven? I think not, we all just need fresh insight from the Holy Spirit to bring about an awakening and a breath of reality to get the “Body” reviving again.

  1. […] Welcome the Messiah into your heart! For more on this read: […]

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