My mother raised me in church and for that I am grateful. We were in Church every Wednesday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night as well as several week-long revivals a year. It felt like my second home. Things have certainly changed. Could it be that the physical building we call the church is a dying organization?
Looking back on the church, I have realized some disturbing truths about this organization that have led me to ponder many questions.
- Who is God?
- Where is God?
- Is God separate from us?
- Aren’t we all just ONE universal Spirit?
- Where is this Hell I’ve been told about?
- Where is Heaven?
Do I have all the answers? Not by a long stretch. I ask these questions to also provoke thought in you. And remember, parachutes are much like the mind, heart and spirit. They only work when they are open. It is my hope you will keep your mind, heart, and spirit open as you also think about what your answer would be to these questions.
Perhaps God is not who you’ve been taught your whole life he is. Perhaps God is not where you been told he is. Are Heaven and Hell really physical destinations?
For centuries the church has used fear tactics to get people to follow. Follow who? They have preached that if you don’t “get saved” and follow Jesus that you will go to hell and burn forever. So, where is this “Lake of Fire” where thousands of “sinners” are burning forever yet never burn up? Where is it located? Are you able to answer that?
Where is this place called Heaven that “Christians” go after they die? Where is it? Do people really go somewhere and walk on streets of gold forever? Sounds like a nice story but is it reality?
Could it be that Heaven and Hell are not physical destinations at all, but rather states of mind with each day bringing a new opportunity to choose which one we will be in? For me, my choices have led to many days in hell. On the other hand, I’ve also had many days in heaven.
Church for me has been both a place of inspiration and a place of great hurt with all the gossiping, deceitfulness, extreme hypocrisy, fear tactics and fairytales. I could write a book just on my experience in the church. Is the church perhaps too much of a business? A bank? A social gathering? A fashion show? A Broadway musical? A place to hide who you really are.
Many politicians have used the church as a platform to win elections. “Oh, he’s a Christian so I’m voting for him.” I think we have all seen behavior that is far from Christian coming from the highest office in the land yet the Christians continue to support this behavior by casting their vote.
Next time you attend your church, look around. What is the majority age group represented in the church? More than likely, it is not millennials. It is possible that they have chosen to also ask themselves the important questions? The millennials do not seem to be buying into the fear tactics, the drama, and the stories being told.
Each individual has within them the power to discover their own spirit and their own path without all the drama of the church. It is my belief that people are more awakened to the fact that the sanctuary is inside of them and not inside a building where you go to be preached at, condemned, and judged.
I certainly respect those who believe in the traditional thought process they were raised to belief. I respect those who choose to attend church. Still I have to wonder, Is the church serving its true purpose? Quite frankly, I see more spirituality in people who do not attend church. The Bible has been terribly distorted by many men to make it mean what they want it to mean and to justify their bigotry and hate.
What would happen if the church practiced more love and less fear? What would happen if the church practiced more acceptance and less judgment? What would happen if there was more authenticity and less hypocrisy? What would happen if they fed the hungry instead of buying the pastor a new Mercedes?
I have served at the top of many of these large church organizations. Oh, the things I saw, heard, and experienced. One thing in the pulpit and another out. Families arguing and not loving each other. The church split with certain groups fighting with other groups in the church. Holding elections to vote people in and out of positions. Using certain parts of the bible to judge and condemn others.
My intention is certainly not to tear the physical church down, but instead to hopefully cause you to think about the questions asked in this article. What is your answer to each question?
As always, I would be grateful for your feedback as I believe we all learn from each other. It is okay to have varying viewpoints and ideology. We can still love and respect each other through it all.
Grateful for each of you,