Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Orphans in our Churches

As odd as it may seem, the prosperity of the past few decades has created its own kind of 'orphan' generation. Whether it is addiction to work, entertainment, handheld devices, some mind-altering substance, some other cause for family 'abandonment,' or just living in a culture where people seem to slowly drift further and further apart with each coming day, we have more disconnected people in our societies than ever before. This has produced a sort of orphan spirit in those who come into our churches where people have that same wide-eyed desire to be adopted that I saw in the faces of those children in post-WW2 Japan. The problem is, rather than nurturing them into a relationship with their Father and their new brothers and sisters, we seem to have turned our churches into orphanages instead of families.
Think about that for a moment. In an orphanage, dozens, if not hundreds, of children can be the responsibility of one adult...
Now think of the way most churches operate. There's little to no nurturing connection between people who show up on Sunday mornings. Our interactions with one another are shallow at best, and artificial and insincere at worst. We show a more carefully curated persona there than most do on social media. We want to be liked, we want to be seen as good people, we want to be shown approval, and we want to be looked up to, so we show people only our best behavior. Or we go to the other extreme and become walking sponges, sucking the life out of every interaction with our 'woe is me' demeanors. Neither is real or healthy (dare I say 'hypocritical'?) and neither holds the fullness and life God wants for us.
I think this largely happens because, even though we're saved, we have little idea who we are because of it.
Unravelled: Reform the Church, Transform the Culture. Jon Petersen. Book rec from Carver Pugh.

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