Monday, December 01, 2014

The Church and a Crisis of Relational Righteousness

Recently, in a blog post at Internet Monk that dealt with church growth and church decline, I added a comment that told part of my story. What I noted was a widespread lack of loving one's neighbor as one's self, in the context of the church. Here's my comment in its entirety:

Relationships are very important to my family, as they are to many. But one factor that has big impact is how one is treated. We left the last three churches we attended basically due to 1) neglect, 2) abuse, and 3) indifference. We haven’t been to a church in a while. In each of these cases, there was a significant lack of caring from the body while we were in our greatest crises in life. This included people we knew personally (and knew very well, at least we thought so) for over ten years.

I believe there is a crisis in the church of what I might call “relational righteousness.” If you make a promise to somebody, keep it. If somebody is in need, help. If you can’t help, pray with them. Invite people over for a meal. If somebody else invites you over, go. If you place somebody in charge of a ministry, let them be in charge of the ministry, and don’t meddle. Associate with the lowly. Show the most honor to the least in your midst. Actually practice the one-anothers. Stuff your choir/worship band for a while and let the addict you saved out of the gutter play “Amazing Grace” on his harmonica. It won’t hurt. Suffer not little children to be part of the church family. Really. And here is a big one…if somebody offers you help, let them help, even if you don’t need it. It may make their day. Practice and teach these things.

For my family, it is going to take a church that practices this relational righteousness for us to attend.

In light of my last post on The Dones, it is easy to see why so many people are deciding to leave a church they have attended, even for years.