from Carey Nieuwhof:
The church has more than its share of critics these days.
Sometimes the criticism is unwarranted. People project their issues onto a congregation or onto the church, which is never healthy.
And, of course, the church will inevitably run into criticism.
What we're doing is counter-cultural and will never be met with universal applause. The Gospel, even when powerfully shared, got John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, Jesus and the prophets killed, just to name a few. While it seems strange to say it, even love, when seen fully and magnificently, gets rejected.
But other times we absolutely deserve the criticism that comes our way.
Here are 5 things that, in my view, would help the mission of the church become more authentic and more effective if we could just stop doing them.
1. Being So Weird Online
Why do so many Christians think their social media feed is a place to show the world their weirdness?
2. Commenting on Politics
Part of the weirdness is political.
God is not a Republican or a Democrat, or in my country, a Conservative, Liberal or New Democrat. Nor is God an independent.
God is God.
When your church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, you cease to be the church.
3. Handling Conflict So Poorly
The church should be the best in the world at handling conflict. We were taught by Jesus exactly how to do it.
Yet we often side step. We gossip. We talk about other people rather than to people.
We avoid conflict. Or we run into it like a bulldozer claiming we’re all about truth.
If we just handled conflict humbly, gently, introspectively and bravely, we would be so much better.
4. Ranking Sin Selectively
Christians have become fairly good at focusing on the moral failings of others while ignoring their own.
We pretend that the worst sin you can commit is sexual. And-- don't get me wrong-- sexual sin has serious implications.
But so does gossip. And divisiveness. And quarrelling-- sins Christians routinely ignore. Mostly because we commit them.
5. Judging Outsiders
This is a pet peeve of mine.
As I outlined here, we in the modern church have largely ignored Paul's injunction to stop judging non-Christians. Even Jesus said he didn't come into the world to judge it, but to save it.
Christians, the world has a judge. And it's not you.
He's fairer than you. More just than you. More perfect than you. And far more accurate.
In the meantime, do your best to help reconcile your brothers and sister in the world to their heavenly father through Christ. That's your job.
The entire post can be read here.
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)