Festival of Hope, a side that isn’t so obvious yet critically important. I don’t lay the issues I’m about to point out regarding “the local church” at Mr Franklin Graham’s feet however I believe it’s time to begin to re-evangelize the choir so to speak and examine where many of the “lost” ALSO reside- within those sequestered and adorned walls. Many of whom have almost completely lost their way after once having been found. #greenleaf
One may not agree on some of her viewpoints but Oprah has it quite right in the production of Greenleaf, and you don’t have to be a Megachurch to experience the degree of hypocritical dysfunction enough to drive anyone to, if not abandon their faith altogether, cause significant mental and spiritual health challenges and even suicidal thoughts as they grapple with the dichotomy of cognitive dissonance in an environment meant to display the love of Christ, serve the needs of the vulnerable and protect against injustice- even if it be internal corruption – to work towards peace for the soul.
Not having attended a Crusade event like this for some time, it was enjoyable yet strangely foreign.
Appreciated some of Mr Graham’s message given at the Festival of Hope yet as hundreds poured forward there was no honest preparation and girding for the world these thousands over the course of the 3 days (in one city I might add) were being instructed MUST be their future… “the local church”.
A world of:
– political scheming and infighting,
– unspoken competitive jockeying for the approval of mere men,
– competition for “sheep”,
– the soon to be introduced literal unquestioning demand for their resources used for questionable activities and projects as required proof of “covenant membership” (that’s a real thing) “commitment” and faith, rather the ad nauseam anthem of how easy it is to squander God’s resources meant for “His purposes”, convenient
– hive mind indoctrination,
– little to no acknowledgement or “teaching” of ones vocational resources being a means of grace from God meant for ones own family for sustenance and future needs other than the echo chamber of “sacrificial giving to god”, and the ad nauseam mental abrading anthem of how easy it is to “sinfully” squander God’s resources meant for “His purposes”, convenient
– often above mean salaries,
– a world of power and control that instructs that to be a true disciple you eventually must aspire towards leadership that is modelled after our vision irrelevant of what you see or experience along that road
– a world of often corrupt means of “intelligence gathering” through “watchers” and well groomed hand picked “Care/ Small group leaders”, not all but many of which are in their “spiritual authoritative” (pedastolic spell) indentured control and thus often aim to comply and please them
– a world that so easily over time becomes enamoured and beguiled by the prospect of grand leadership within their little world of christendom slowly eroding the charter and tenants of what the Bible calls first love eventually negating nearly all works of faith and “service” with a more base undercurrent of well meaning but well disguised or even unaware self service, showmanship and (our) church promotional discipleship models.
A small sampling of the underbelly of “church life” as I’ve seen it over almost 30 years and from many discussions with people from varying demographic ages and cultures that I have access to.
Like sheep to a potential and possible slaughter unless either the swamp is drained or they are made aware of what to watch for to keep people to account and how to not put aside critical thinking which often can be the spirit speaking and leading and warning. A perspective yet often viewed and squelched within the hive as disobedience, dissent, “uncharitable” charges or “judgements”, gossip and on and on breaking down the conscience, breaking down the freedom to live, be and think with open honest discourse irrelevant of its direction or honest conclusion and labelling such as worldly and “thinking in the flesh”. Nonsense, undeniable in its existence thereby unbiblical in practice and sad to say the least.
As I watched the hundreds come to the floor it truly was amazing to see with very different eyes and a very different heart for them. Although as I looked around the stadium I did truly feel like I was, if but for a few short hours, within a hive of members and church leaders excited about the prospects of adding new members or loved ones to their local nests (oh yeah, and the kingdom of God, primarily of course) no matter what they knew the toxicity levels may or may not be “back home” at their “local churches”.
For King and Country however was very entertaining with lyrics that sounded unorthodox and refreshing.
Having written much about this subject already, here are couple of other takes – although I pray that not be the case which often only means hoping from church to church or completely unplugging to maintain a healthy faith and sanity – on the potential future of the hundreds of new followers generated in these functions. I’ve also added another link from the very astute and articulate Rachel Held Evans on another perspective of evangelical church life.