...was a comment made on a facebook status I put up about attending a mom-to-mom sale at a mega church and feeling kind of jealous. I want to explain my jealousy, my faith and my saddness at the mega church in this blog. But first a few PSAs
I know some of my blog reading friends might belong to mega churches. I really don't want you to feel judged or put down because of your faith expression. I am going to compliment your churches muchly, but I am also going to call into question a certain aspect of this phenomenon and frankly, that might offend you, so you might not want to read.
I am going to make some sweeping generalizations in this blog. That is okay. I know there are exceptions. I know I am not speaking about 100% of the time or 100% of mega churches.
Okay, so the husband and I went to a mega church for a mom to mom sale. Aaron warned me going in that I was going to be BLOWN away and BLOWN away I was. First, the parking lot. OFF THE HOOK. Pretty sure they have a VALET parking area! When you walk in the lobby you are greeted with huge banners, and tons of flat screen televisions show you announcements about the church. As we followed signs to where the sale was, we saw a STORE, a COFFEE SHOP, and TONS of flat screen televisions. When I used the restroom, there was a sign that said, 'If we are not meeting a standard of excellence, please let us know'. In the room with the sale, there were the huge projector screens, hip Christian music playing, everything was sleek/everything was modern. We went into the big ticket room and there were fake trees/and what appeared to be a 'downtown strip' area with different store fronts that I am assuming is their daycare? This place was off.the.hook. I could not believe that people worship there. It was crazy because everyone was so lovely and nice and welcoming. What a freaking amazing community! We left and Aaron and I kept laughing saying, 'um we are kind of jealous'. Then reminding ourselves that we get to consume the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity and we feel pretty good about that.
Now, here is where I am going to 'tangent' but I want you to stay with me. We went to a marriage talk tonight and they talked about the high divorce rate. The speaker referenced that the MAJORITY of marriages end at the 5 year mark. I know the statistics, but it is still hard to hear. He then went on to list 5 things that you must do to have a successful marriage. And man, those things that he listed...they are FREAKING hard. They are things like forgiveness, communication, caring for your spouse the way your spouse WANTS to be cared for. And, one of the points he made was that to love, is to suffer. And DUDE. Something clicked.
NO WONDER marriages are hurting right now. We are a culture that cannot stand to sit with suffering. We do everything to avoid it. Headache? pill. Heartache? pill. Attraction to things that aren't good for you but feel good? Just go for it. etc.. etc... etc... (oh, yea-h I just went there with the three ETCs). How can we possibly stay in marriages that are difficult for us when EVERYTHING in our culture tells us to avoid suffering at all costs. Almost everything in our culture celebrates, in a sneaky kind of way, a certain type of selfishness. To the point where being selfless has become foreign ...not easily understood by the natives. NO WONDER MARRIAGES CAN'T LAST THROUGH THAT. And guess what friends? I would love to tell you that I am not affected by this, but I TOTALLY am. I HATE suffering. Always have. No wonder marriage is a crud-ton harder than I thought it would be- it demands an acceptance of suffering and I DON'T DO SUFFERING.
And, that is when it hit me. No wonder I freaking wanted to join this mega church. THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE A CROSS!!!
You know, about a half a year ago Oprah had on Joel Osteen. We recorded it because the husband wanted to watch it. I have never cared for the man's style of preaching. Even greater, I have never cared for his message. As we watched him, I actually had to remove myself from the room. Would you like to know why? It was because he was LYING. He was/is LYING to tens of thousands of people who believe HIS view of who Christ is. And that person IS.NOT. Christ. Now, I know, I know, I am speaking in really big OFFENSIVE terms...and maybe I will feel bad in the light of day. But right now, I am going to call it like I see it and the person that Mr. Osteen is selling to HIS worshipers (note- it is very important that I say HIS worshipers) IS.NOT.CHRIST.
Christ is a cross. Christ is the face of suffering. Christ said the road would be narrow. Christ said that he would be DESTROYED before he rose. Christ promised that to be his follower, we would have to be willing to carry that same cross. Christ lost his mind in the temple because he couldn't believe that his FATHER's HOUSE was being turned into a den of trading. CHRIST is who I choose to follow and in this world, and, often, CHRIST is not attractive.
But, do you know what is attractive? Cupholders! Christian Rock Music. Messages that tell you the more you believ,e the more cash-flow will come your way. BATHROOMS THAT ARE PRISTINE AND PROMISE TO STAY THAT WAY. DUDE- that is attractive. And tonight, it is making me a little sad. It is making me a little sad because this message of attractive Christianity, a Christianity that is NOT built on what is true about the Christian walk, is STEALING my teens.
In this modern day of distraction, feel-good philosophies, instant gratification...it is close to impossible for my teens to walk up the communion line, receive the BODY AND BLOOD of Christ (the BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST BECAUSE HE TOLD US IT WAS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST) and be amazed. Instead, they are looking to go elsewhere. Where they are more entertained. More engaged. There are more 'cool' groups for them to join and better music. The body and blood of CHRIST! IS BORING. That is where we are at.
So, I guess, in closing, to wrap this string of thoughts together. If your church does not have a cross, a big one, an obvious one some where visible...you should be taking a second to wonder who, or more importantly WHAT you are worshiping.
Sorry if this hurt your feelings.
The Break of Spring
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