This past Christmas was the first time in my life I didn’t go to a church for some sort of service. I’m not in a bible study or small group. In fact being a part of organized religion has completely melted out of my life in the last twelve months.
If you were to ask why, the answer is simple; I’ve not attended because after working in churches for 10 years, I haven’t found any value in going.
I’m over the concerts and speeches and the contrived effort to call a gathering of 3,000 people a family. I’m over being encouraged to move even further into the life of a consumer living “my” faith individualistically because that’s the kind of faith that best scales with the organizations efficiency scores.
In 14 months outside the small world of big churches I’m aware of how little of real life they have any grasp on. Of how made up their appearances are, and how little they have to offer at the distance they chose to live life from everyone around them.
What I value now is proximity. The only leaders I care to hear are those willing to know me and be known. Not in some official capacity over Starbucks with their church credit card in hand to take care of the employee expense. But with a friend, a person living honestly in their own right with no agenda or “line” to keep - but possessing the strength of character to have their own voice, doubts and convictions.
Simply put I don’t find that Pastors are honest people - but are purveyors of a culture and pure-breed politicians. They can only voice the culture they want or the one that they are employed by - and they dare not cross it for their honest beliefs (either in self-preservation or religious manipulation) for fear of offending the sensitives of the masses and their overseers.
And please don’t insult me by claiming I’m some bitter outsider speaking from ignorance and indifference. I’ve seen campus pastor after worship pastor after youth pastor at the best of places sleep with their secretaries, leave their families and dive into profound hypocrisy because they were leading a culture and championing a great cause of another man but never seen as valuable enough to be cultivated in their faith.
When an organization ensures culture is grasped but leaves real faith to odds - how could it’s priorities be in the right place?
Unapologetically, whether it be pride, a phase, misplaced angst or a hopeful burst of honesty - I see little value in our modern concert halls and hopeful authors. I find pulpits full of small minds, impatient elitists and disconnected politicians. I find them offering very little in comparison to the grand nature of our God, his Word, and the Faith his Son has left us to live out. I see none call people to greatness of soul, honesty of intellect, conviction of heart and freedom of voice - cause then they wouldn’t need them anymore.
Some will claim they do - but they never manage it without some hook or required subjection into a position and value below the leadership.
Why bring it up?
I’m relearning honesty after being in that world as a profession for more then 10 years. I’m still trying to find out what I think, what it means, and how a real faith in Jesus still exists in my life. I’m detoxing and looking for what remains that is real, that is love, and that is true. And this is simply one conclusion in the search, one that catches me by surprise for the ease of which it has been true.