Ok I'll admit it. I go to church every Sunday. I'm in a small Bible study group. I am even at church on Wednesday evening. I happen to be the minister in this church. So maybe that pushes me over the edge in terms of being halfway normal. I don't know.
I do know that many, many religious people get in the way of Jesus. Jesus was never obnoxious. Many religious people are. Jesus did not always use "church-speak" in his conversations. Many religious people do. Jesus did not drive away people who were hungry to learn from him. Some religious people do just that.
Do you know some people do not go near churches because of what they've experienced? I believe there are four behaviors which have been roadblocks for many people. These are roadblocks that may sound very familar:
- Unecthical or immoral behavior. A man or woman has an affair. A man is fired from his job for stealing. A woman is caught shoplifting. This becomes public knowlege. Suppose these people are members of a church. Around the church people, they act as if nothing is wrong. It is almost as if they are living one life on Sunday and another life during the week. This is hard for a non-Christian to understand.
- Rude, ungracious behavior. A church group goes to a resturant to eat together. Several people are rude to a new waitress. Meanwhile, a woman is known as work for backstabbing fellow workers. These people are Christians. There is no apology, no acknowlegement of wrong. This is hard for a non-Christian to understand.
- Complaining and griping about the body of Christ. Why on earth would you want to visit a church when you have heard its members constantly complain and gripe about it?
- Sectarianism. "The only right bunch" This is close to home. Sectarianism is an attitude where we believe we are the only bunch that has figured this out. As a result, men and women are often produced who are arrogant and ready to argue.
Get this...human imperfection does not stand in Jesus' way. Especially imperfection that is accompanied by humility. When we are imperfect but humble, we are then free to admit we are not who we should be (no one is). Yet, our intent is to become more Christlike. Becoming more Christlike will not result in becoming obnoxious. So--if we are becoming obnoxius, the problem is not that we are becoming like Jesus.