I feel rebellious.
I grew up with a great love for the physical church. Sundays, Wednesdays, extra activities - I was always there. I always considered it a blessing that somehow I never despised church, that my parents didn't have to drag me out of bed to go every Sunday at 8am. I was one of the church-going, naive-and-loving-it, sold out Christians. And homeschooled too. Church was where I felt alive, loved, needed for ministry.
I'm not very fond of church anymore.
My heart is breaking for the churches of America. I just spent a good 20 minutes fascinatedly reading a church marketing website. I enjoy this website. I've loved some of the thoughts and ideas they've observed or created. Tonight, I came away sad. I was buying it. I was swallowing all of the church jargon, the "just be the church you are" slogans. Some places are being encouraged to use the "Dove" real beauty campaign for ways to represent the real people that are able to connect in the community. There isn't anything wrong with being real people and connecting with the community; but I'm confused about "church marketing."
Perhaps I'm sentimental and I like the sometimes old-fashioned feel of going to church. I used to love the idea of the new contemporary songs, youth group activities, and expensive church banners that build the "identity" of the church. Now, I can't stand in a service and sing a song that on many levels insults my intelligence and the depth of my relationship with Christ. I'm frustrated with evangelistic messages that are desensitizing me to the reality of the gospel. When did church become an evangelistic building? Where am I supposed to go as a Christian to be challenged and convicted beyond a daily talk with God? I've decided I definitely don't agree with modernizing the church or keeping up with the times. For once I don't want something that is constantly changing and trying to stay relevant. I question the integrity of something that tries to keep convincing me of its relevance.
Look nice. Be well-designed. I encourage and hope for that. But "keep the faith" for lack of a less-trite phrase. Open the Bible and speak from "its diaphragm."
[end of soapbox thoughts]