THE GODLESS CHURCH

Godless 1280px-The_Hanging_by_Jacques_Callot

God withdrew sweet Love, and I saw how cheap
And mean-minded our church then became.
Godless, our minds swiftly became as deep
As the River Platte. Just wicks without flame,
All grabs and all wants, without any shame,
We had no sweet Love for any but ourselves
And all we had to give brothers was blame.
Deeper truths became musty books left on shelves
And the small truth we saw was selected
To accent our side of our crafty greed
And was tirelessly honed, perfected,
As if vanity was a cute pet to feed.
Unless God returns, then the egos we trust
Will make church a garden of growing disgust.

Christianity is full of errors to repent for. A group of evangelists set up a clever booth at a local fair with a large sign reading “confessional” over its door. When curious people entered, perhaps expecting to find a priest who might hear them confess about how they over-did their drinking the night before, they instead heard Christians confess about 2000 years of blunders. It was behavior in sharp contrast to the holier-than-thou behavior many expect from Christians.

It is due to these failures that Christianity is constantly attempting reforms, as churches attempt to “revive” the Spirit seen in the early church. This often creates trouble between the orthodox and those who desire reform. In Europe awful battles have occurred between Protestants and Catholics. The gruesome picture that heads this post dates from the Thirty Years War, (1618-1648), when 8 million people died in Central Europe (during a time when populations were far lower.)

In some ways I think it is out of disgust over the failure of Christians to obey Christ that some turn away from Christianity altogether, and attempt to define goodness in some New Age manner. In many ways such “goodness” is a copy of what Jesus taught, and is a plagiarism of scripture, leaving out any inconvenient mentions of the Author.

This creates a big problem, because the Creator makes it clear in scripture we are lost without Him. Our egos are a problem, and in some ways are the  problem, yet there is no way we can handle forces outside of our limited selves without an ego. The ego is like a boat we are using to cross a raging river, but as long as we are in the boat we can’t step ashore onto a Promised Land. We are all in the same boat(s), and all share the same plight, and (according to scripture) all our our best efforts to become free of our predicament are doomed to failure, for we are so attached to our boats we can only row in circles. Only the Master can walk on water and lead us to shore.

In New England the little towns were initially set up by people seeking to flee the holocaust of the Thirty Years War in the early 1600’s. The church was a central point in town. However, in the four hundred years since, the church has fallen out of favor, and many see it as backwards and oppressive, and prefer a secular idea of “goodness.” This secular idea of goodness contains some attempts at “fairness” that are as difficult to realize as any commandments in the Bible. (For example, the idea that all deserve a trophy for “participating”, and that it is somehow evil to reward success because it makes those who fail feel like failures, even though they are failures.)

Now we are witnessing secular idealism fall flat on its face, in some ways even more spectacularly than Christianity fell flat on its face. Some people want to return to the church, but they seem to prefer the so-called “mega-church” to the small-town “community church”.  In New England only some 2% attend a “local” church.

The local church has a bad reputation of holding snobs. It matters little if it is Conservative or Liberal, you are unwelcome if you don’t kowtow to some concept of “correctness”.

One then has to think hard  about what differentiates a church from a country club. After all, many of the same concepts apply. A country club needs to recruit a certain number of “paying members”, and the people attending have to agree to be nice to each other. Why should a country club have to pay taxes, where a church gets a write-off?

The difference should be that a church holds God. But this leads to the next question.

Does it really?

This must be answered on an individual basis, and at times can be difficult due to the modern concept that seeks immediate gratification, and seems to assume the only sign of God’s presence is a pack of people as blissed-out as people at country club sipping champagne.

In actual fact there is no participation trophy for church. When you bungle and fail, you may be brought to your senses by a look of disapproval from on High. Some of the greatest revivals began with a rebuke.

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “THE GODLESS CHURCH

  1. You’re quite right. Only in God can we have any hope at all, that’s what Christians believe.

    Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.” They are corrupt and commit evil deeds; not one of them practices what is good. (Psalm 14:1, ISV)

  2. I think problems arise when men interpret what God means beyond perfect love and peace. The best interpretations I’ve found are the Ten Commandments and the Gospel. I haven’t studied other religions much but most have similar simple canons. When you go beyond the basic concept of love for God and other men you can pretty much find a rationalization for whatever you want to do. Funny too that the more I study science the more I believe in God. Thanks again for your blog. Peace!

  3. I rather like the title of the article since it is a basic truth. The problem is, too often people turn to “The Bible” looking for the expressions of God or the teachings of Christ. This isn’t necessarily the case. Remember, the Bible is a collection of “books or journals” that were CHOSEN by the church to represent the history of man and the teachings of Christ. The books were not necessarily “divinely inspired,” and they may or may not have been modified by the church as it was creating itself as “go between” between God and Man.

    Earth , and humanity, are like a great biological experiment, created by the Creator, and allowed to run to its conclusion, whatever that may be, by the gift of Free Will. There are basic concepts passed to us through such ideas as “love they neighbor as you would love thyself,” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Rules are offered through the Ten Commandments, but nothing is intended to be binding. Good advice such as saving 10%, or a tithe is also offered. Much of this advice has been somewhat twisted by the “go between” to benefit the “go between,” which is the church.

    There is enough legitimate history and advice in the Bible to warrant its place in humanity, but the book was assembled not for the benefit of Man nor God, but for the benefit of church. As a point, consider tithe. First consider how sound this is as advice – save 10% against a rainy day, if you will. Now put that in as a tithe where you take 10% of your wealth and transfer it to the church. This is not the same. Why would the church need 10% of your wealth? Is it saving it for God and Christ? Does the “Creator of all things, including all markers of wealth” really need wealth accumulated for its use?” Hardly. If the Creator wished to have $5 quadrillion in gold to play with at the casinos in Las Vegas, it would simply create it. Point is, then, the wealth is transferred from the people to the church, and for the church’s own use. Why do you think so many small to not so small churches have sprung up all over the place? To teach “the gospel?” Not likely. To garnish wealth? Very likely.

    And by circular logic, if you will, we get back to the very excellent title of “the Godless Church” because churches, for the most part, serve churches, not God, and the Creator and son are only mentioned as window dressing, so Godless Church is right on target.

    • Many insightful thoughts. Thanks.

      One interesting thing about “small churches” is that they can be closer to what a Christian church was in the year 100 AD. The definition of “church” back then was not a building, but a gathering of people. Apparently they were not led by a lone priest, but by a group of “elders”, who were doing their best to ascertain what Jesus wanted. Furthermore, they were illegal.

      The modern equivalent is to be a tiny Christian house-church in a place extremely hostile to Christianity, such as Iran, North Korea, or the governor’s mansion in California. .

      • Most of what I wrote there came to me while walking in the desert, asking questions out loud to any cactus, creosote bush, or jack rabbit that would listen, and then trying to remember the thoughts that came into my mind after the question. I have contended in the past that God was an energy being, not a physical being, thus has no mouth to speak with, and that our soul is our direct link to God. It thus made sense to me to see where my thoughts went after asking a question, for basically, that would be the only likely way that I would receive an answer. And some of the thoughts that flowed after a question, often only peripherally connected, led me down strange pathways of thought.

        This process, unfortunately, leaves me with the unpleasant feeling that the 2nd coming isn’t going to be soon, and that Man has yet to “bottom out” as to how low he will go on the moral and ethical aspects of life. Thus I can sadly say, more interesting times lie ahead, and neither Earth nor humanity will end any time soon. How ugly it will get, I can’t say, but I plan on living through as much of it as I am allowed. And as a “reincarnationist,” I most likely will opt for another tour of duty, if you will, hopefully with a reasonable knowledge intact, to watch the next ascent towards greatness man will attempt. In this climb towards the heavens, we were doing fairly well, but by the 1800s, the worship of gold came back and once again displaced the worship of God. Money isn’t the root of all evil or is money evil, but the worship of it is diametrically opposed to the sharing of love.

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