Interesting thoughts from an ex-pastor and ex-Christian

20 02 2012

During the past week, I came across an interesting blog.  A man I work with had mentioned a name of a preacher that he recommended I look into.  I “Googled” the preachers name and clicked onto a blog that mentioned this name.  Little did I know that what this blogger said would be so relevant to some of the things I wanted to say in this blog.

His name is Bruce Gerencser and his blog is called “Fallen from Grace”.  He tells his history as one who became a Christian at the age of 14 and started preached at 15.  He was a Christian for (I think) 33 years and a Baptist pastor for 25 of those years.  But through certain circumstances, thoughts, observations, and learning, he has not only denied the faith he once had, but also denies the existence of God, or at least doesn’t know if a God exists.

The reason I bring him up and was reading his blog is that he made some very fascinating and extremely valid statements about the Church and Christians in general.  What he has seen inside and outside the church is most likely what the world sees when they look at the church.  Although he is an agnostic (yet he was a Baptist pastor for 25 years) he has articulated the gospel and many other theological matters in his blog better than many Christians can.

I will be quoting him here every so often to challenge you to live your life as Christ.  If you are a follower of Christ, then follow HIM diligently.  Do you live according to how your church tells you how to live, or on how Christ tells you how you should live?  Do you know your Bible enough to know what your church says is true or are you treating your pastor/preacher as a god and just taking for granted what is said?

One of the points that Bruce makes is that people don’t see Christ in us.  People see church as a social club and Christians as hateful, unconcerned, ultra-conservatives that want to force our political views on the whole country.  I can see where he is coming from.  He makes many good points.  I do not consider myself a liberal Christian by any means.  However, how are we going to reach this world without concern and compassion for them?  How are we going to reach them if we ourselves don’t show Christ to this world instead of expecting the “church” to do it.  If the world is attracted (some how) to a church because of what they do, but find the people in the church live and act just as they do, what will compel them to follow Christ if the people in the church don’t themselves.

Bruce wrote:

The Christian Church is very effective in turning people into atheists and agnostics.  If you want to change this trend stop talking and start living.

How are you living your life, O Christian?  Are you living just like the ones you want to bring to your church?  Would they be attracted to Jesus or turned away because of you?  Do you care about others?  Do you show concern, consideration, and compassion to others or are you just in your own “Christian world”?  If you talk to others about the gospel, do you try to find out who they are, where they come from, and genuinely care…or just take the time to hit them with the Bible enough to get your point across?

I could go on.  I will in later posts.  Unfortunately, there are many people that have been turned off to church and Christianity because of something someone in the church or who claims to be a Christian has done to them (or not done to them).  It’s time we stepped up, both men and woman, to live as Christ, not as the church, has taught us.  If you don’t know what that means, read your Bible and ask God for wisdom.

You now know Bruce’s name and the name of his blog.  I did not link to his blog on purpose.  He gets bombarded by “loving” Christians that just want to throw the Bible at him, tell him he’s going to hell, argue endlessly with him, but not even try to care about him or where he’s coming from.  Honestly, those things just make his stance more concrete as it shows that people just want to “win him back for Jesus” and then leave him once they have that notch on their belt.  Put yourself in his shoes and it looks like everyone’s just trying to “score one for the Lord”.  If you want to check out his blog you can Google it but contact him at your own risk.

Remember Jesus calls us to follow Him, not the church, pastors, or any other people or things.  Follow Him.

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Quit Playing Church

12 02 2012

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for some time now to share some frustrations, encouragements, and to challenge others.  It is my desire to make people who go to church, who consider themselves Christians, to think about the faith that they profess.  What is it?  What is it about?  Is it for real in our lives?  What about what we call “church”?  How are we to live?  I probably won’t answer those questions themselves but may challenge you to answer them within my posts.  I am not the sole authority on how you or others should live their lives, but God is.  The Bible is the way that God has told us how to live our lives and live toward each other.

It is not my intend to offend.  However, God is offensive to many.  The gospel is offensive to many.  The Bible is offensive to many.  I may lose some Facebook “friends”.  I really don’t care.  I hope I may be able to make someone think about their faith, why they believe it, and what they are doing about it, even if they don’t agree with me.  The last thing I want is to have this blog read by only those who may agree.  I don’t want to be “followed”, I want to encourage and challenge others to follow, not people, pastors, or churches, but Christ.  He told us to follow Him.

Unfortunately, something is not right with the American church.  In the last ten years, I have seen or heard about:

-Pastors have affairs and end their marriages
-The Gospel watered down so that nobody gets offended yet nobody really hears truth
-Church services that seemed more like a concert or just plain entertainment than anything else
-People in church having their own “cliques” and not caring about others
-A lack of being proactive
-“Fellowship” that consists of talking about sports, news, the latest movie, etc… things I can talk to people at work about who are not Christians

That is just a small list of the many things I have come across in the last ten years.  Something is wrong.  Has the American church gone to sleep?  Does it care anymore about what Jesus taught us?  Does it only care about those who are exactly like them?

There are people who don’t go to church or don’t want to because of bad experiences they have had.  There are those that go to church to be social.  There are also those who practice “Churchianity” and pay their “weekly dues”.  That is not what church or Jesus Christ is all about.  He said to follow Him.

Again, I hope to encourage and challenge.  By all means, encourage and challenge me as well.  If you are a follower of Christ, we are on this faith journey together.  We are not called to tear each other apart, but to build each other up.