As I see it...
If you follow me on Facebook, you will see a few thoughts that I ponder from time to time that begin with “The world will be a better place when….” Just this week, I posted, “The world will be a better place when churches stop projecting a “cult” mentality.” Uh-oh. I had no clue the chaos the word, “cult,” would trigger.
I removed the post in the interest of unity and to prevent more hostility from being generated among my Facebook friends and their Facebook friends; and so on, and so on, and so on.
What was my intent of the post and was it necessary? I want you to decide. Based on my personal observations, I see some scary stuff out there.
Observation #1: If a church thinks everyone must think the same, worship the same, be there every time the doors open, and agree most of the time, sorry – that screams cult to me. Christ picked twelve disciples. Twelve very different disciples. Christ found strength in differences and power in diversity.
Observation #2 When a church has a rash of plastic surgeries by females hoping to become more appealing to their husbands to stop or prevent adultery, there’s a problem. If women are encouraged to be thin, stay slim, and concentrate more on their outer appearance to keep their man, there’s a problem. If a church body is taking a church van to the surgeon, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. And, yes, that’s a joke.
Observation #3 When a church begins a ministry of being pack hunters targeting those who do not agree with them through verbal or social media attacks, the church has stopped functioning as a body with many parts and has turned into one, big, ugly, hateful blob.
Observation #4 When you see a leader raging on Facebook regarding homosexuality and transgender issues not being aware he has both in his congregation, you are tempted to ask just who that leader hopes to serve? Themselves or their political and/or social values? The outcast? The struggling? Leaders might want to keep in mind that their refusal to deal with difference only forces non-compliant members to go elsewhere for pastoral care. And, the stories they tell….
Observation #5 Abandoning or blackballing members when they fall from grace. “For all have sinned,” and Jesus kept company with sinners. Are we better than Christ?
Observation #6 Leadership excommunicating the trouble makers instead of listening to their ideas, concerns, or pleas. A person voicing disagreement being marked as a “troublemaker,” or (if they are female) “crazy.”
Observation #7 Demoting someone from a leadership position because the member chooses to maintain a relationship with what a church views as their opponents.
Observation #8 Teaching and supporting the idea that women should be good girls and leave the heavy lifting to their spiritual heads – men.
Observation #9 Totally disregarding the feelings of those members who are youth or children. Turning prayer time into a masked tell-all experience leaving children feeling exposed and betrayed. In other words, publicly humiliating your children in the name of a prayer request.
Observation #10 Being told how to vote from a pulpit. The “suggestion” may not be outright and could be insinuated or subtle. Any pastor or person who uses a position of authority to manipulate a congregant or congregation into submission to his/her ideas and views is guilty of “spiritual abuse.”
So, who am I to address this? I’m me. That’s what I do. Some call it brave; others call it antagonistic. I call it discerning and obedient. How about we allow God to decide?