- Religion and Philosophy
Christianity - Time For a Change
Christianity is coming more and more into disrepute. The majority of churches view this as the devils attack, and when people leave or don't respond to being hounded about the gospel we generally blame demon's. I asked a person once what turned them off Christianity. He said 'other Christians'. We need to take this sort of comment seriously, and stop blaming the devil.
The term ex-Christian is something many consider theologically impossible, but when it is becoming more and more prevalent is it time to consider that we are doing something wrong. What has happened?
I believe God showed me something one day. Please read on before you make a judgement about that statement.
My husband called me one day from the computer to look at something he had found. He was checking out the e-mails, and like most people we get lots of funny movies from friends. Expecting to see some idiot falling off something, a funny animal or latest joke, I was baffled as I saw a herd of buffalo on the screen. He started it from the beginning, and told me I just had to see it. Trust me it is very popular on You-Tube for a reason, what happens is amazing.
Battle at Kruger
It was initially not peculiar, you will see if you watch the clip a pride of about 6 lions chasing a couple of buffalo and take down a small calf. The calf and the attached lions fall into an adjacent river, and the scene gets sad as a couple of crocodiles grab hold and try to fight the lions for a feed.
Perplexed as to why on earth my husband is so astonished by something that doesn’t include humorous subject matter, I humoured him and watched on. It is the most astonishing thing that happens, and I am sure you will watch in shock as I did as the reason for my husband calling me to watch became apparent.
The calf should have been done for. After the lions and the crocodile, and then the lions again after fighting off the crocodiles. You don’t need medical training to work out injuries sustained by lions fighting crocodiles over a calf would make it dead. What the buffalo did is an amazing example of how we can learn so much from the instinctive nature of animals.
If you haven't watched it, the buffalo that had formerly rapidly dispersed reappear with the herd and start to gather around the lions. The herd stand like a wall, packed in tight advancing on them.
Notice at this stage you start to hear the calf bleating for help.
It is at this time as I watched that I had a revelation of how the buffalo was a picture of the church, and how believers need to act.
Watching the calf being savaged by the lions and crocodiles I saw the new Christians, the teenagers, those who have fallen away from church, and people struggling with day to day issues. ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ 1 Peter 5:8. I also saw how our churches respond. I am sorry to say, it is generally not like the brave buffalo.
The pregnant teenager, the new believer savaged by alcoholism, the homeless person who comes to church and can’t put a sentence together without using profanities. How do we deal with that as believers? Unfortunately what I have seen is judgement and condemnation. Sometimes people are thrown out of church, never to return putting out the flame that was burning within them to know Jesus’ love.
Imagine this. The Buffalo walk past the calf and say, “stop being savaged by the lion, and get out of that crocodiles mouth we just don’t do that around here”. Ridiculous isn’t it?
Are you a representation of the small calf? Are you struggling with some addictions or attitudes or even circumstances which are being judged by the Christians around you? Have you been told to read your bible more and pray more? Perhaps it has happened in the past and you have struggled with support from the church.
I had a dream the other night. I was in a church and it was huge. There were hundreds of people sitting in rows and rows of seats, then in the row in front of me I saw a lady curled up in the foetal position sobbing. As I put my hands out to touch her someone told me she was homeless. The preacher kept on preaching and everyone seemed to be ignoring me. There was one other person with me who was also showing concern for her. That's right, one person concerned and hundreds looking away.
It was like she just kept crying and I was trying to hold her in my arms. She ran away under one of the chairs and again curled up in the foetal position. The service was over and I was just staring at her hiding as the people left chatting and laughing. Still ignoring her. A couple more times I was told not to bother, she was homeless.
This dream disturbed me. Unfortunately it is a true picture of many churches
We have to take these stories seriously
IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE
We can take a lesson from the buffalo. Their example from nature is how we can save people. Instead of running away from the homeless for example, we can stand like a wall of strength together. I know there are many believers who already fight this fight of loving people and caring for the poor, lost and broken.
In the video footage, one of the buffalo suddenly comes out and throws one of the lions off with it’s horns, tossing it in the air then runs back to the wall the herd have made. They continue in this manner until there is only one lion left, and the calf gets free and runs into the safety of the herd, who gather around him so he is safe leaving the last lion to flee.
Unfortunately this does not always happen in churches today. Maybe I am making you angry, but I mean no disrespect. If we are not subject to correction as children we make unreliable adults, and so it is with Christians.
Just think about churches you have been to. I know there are some inner city churches which are full of broken people. What about the vast majority? Is your church full of people needing help or righteous looking people? Jesus said he came to call the sinner, not the righteous. Does the thought of prostitutes, homeless people and homosexuals filling your pews disturb you?
If you read the parable of the sheep and the goats, and hold up what Jesus said like a mirror to the churches who will stand up? Who will be like the goats whom Jesus said (Matthew 25:41-43);
...‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
We tend to blame the devil a lot for people falling away from church, however it is time to face the cool hard truth. The devil doesn't need to put people off church as we do a pretty good job of that ourselves. You might think I am being harsh but look around you. There are testimony after testimony of people struggling, like the calf in the video with all sorts of problems and instead of a wall of support and help they are told to 'read your bible more' or 'stop sinning you are being punished'. This is spoken out of a sincere desire to help the person, but we all know it is possible to be sincerely wrong.
No-where in the bible did God ever treat his people like this. The only people who acted this way where the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.
I love Jesus with my whole heart, and I plead with all believers to sincerely seek him. He said that in the last days 'the love of most will grow cold' (Matthew 24:12). This is what is happening. We forget to love. To just help people how they need to be helped. Just being there, praying for them, loving them as Jesus would.
The church has become like a nagging woman (no offence, some of us do get a bit naggy!). When we nag our husbands and children eventually they just switch off and stop listening. We become just an annoying noise in the background. Perhaps like a resounding gong or clanging cymbol...
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
I am not perfect, and have been guilty of all of the above. I have tried to push myself on others. Thought all the thoughts of people needing to do this or do that. I have been so sure of my own interpretation of scripture, only to learn that I was wrong. If anything through all this I have learned that the only way is a deep personal relationship with Jesus. Ready for rebuke, open for correction.
Don't read this and think of all the other churches that do this, and refuse to look at yourself. Change must start with each and every one of us.
Jesus is coming. How many people will we take with us? How many will we push away.
*(All bible quotes are NIV)