So much of what’s been made of “church” is a blasphemous degradation of the Jesus it pimps. Oozing rivers of pus-ladened evil upon a hurting world.
What God meant for healing is used to inflict pain. What God meant for inclusivity is used to assert supremacy. What God meant for peace is used to declare war. What God meant for love is used to justify hate.
Burn it down, all of it.
Every part that condemns the different. Every part that attracts the religious and scatters the broken. Every part that lifts men over women. Every part that oppresses the least-of-these and excites the privileged. Every part that creates conditions, restrictions, rules, and limits where God created none.
The world doesn’t need more buildings, campuses, stages, light shows, soundboards, celebrity pastors, conferences, committees, coalitions of the self-righteous, and cults with crosses on top.
Jesus doesn’t need more Membership 101 classes, mission statements, prayer formulas, name-engraved Bibles, devotionals on coffee tables, “be blessed” memes on social media, or to be branded and franchised for the masses.
Burn it down, all of it.
Not literally, but figuratively. Not with fire, but with resistance. Not with violence, but with truth.
If church is a place you go, you’ll never get there.
If church is a pastor you follow, you’re already lost.
If church is a belief to which you subscribe, you’re in prison.
If church is a lense through which to see and judge the world, you’re blind.
If church is a gathering of the like-minded, like-living, and like-agreeing, trust me, you’re in hell.
For when your highest priorities are opulent buildings, slick marketing, the best programs in town, and skinny jeans for the pastor, you don’t have a church, you have a business with a side hustle in Jesus.
When your highest aspiration is to nationalize your faith, gain power over society, and force your beliefs and values into the lives of all others, you don’t have a church, you have a bulldozer with Jesus as a hood ornament.
When your most important day of the week is Sunday, and your most important activity is a worship service, and your most important measure is the attendance, and your most important calculation is the offering, and your most important person is the pastor, and your most important communication is the sermon, and your most important mission is to colonize the world, and your most important leverage is fear, hell, sin, and the devil, and your most important message is “God loves you, but…” You don’t have a church, you have a spiritual veil to an empty faith.
It’s the poison, not the cure.
It’s greed, not generosity.
It’s power, not sacrifice.
It’s control, not freedom.
It’s condemnation, not Grace.
It’s your way, not the Way
It’s deception, not Truth.
It’s death, not Life
It’s darkness, not Light.
It’s fear, not Love.
It’s you, not Jesus.
Burn it down, all of it.
Love unconditionally, until it is no more.
Include all the marginalized, until it’s squelched of its hate.
Affirm all of the condemned, until it’s smoldering in irrelevance.
Embrace true equality, until it loses its power.
Stand with the least-of-these, until it falls to its knees.
Speak good news that’s good news for all, until it has nothing left to say.
Burn it down, all of it.
Jesus says so.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…
What people are saying:
“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”
“This book is changing the world.”
“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”
Wow, bro. Hitting ’em hard today!!! Thanks for that. I am copying it and posting it on my FB page again [hope you don’t mind]. I couldn’t agree more. In case you did’nt know it, Stan Mitchell’s blog today was as heart-breaking as could be. I copied it to my FB page as well, and have cried bitter tears over its content, as I have felt the same pain the young man did he so solemnly wrote about. I wrote some rather unkind words yet heartfelt ones on Stan’s entry, almost repeating some of what you stated so fluently, here. Again, thanks for the words you wrote. Hope it gave someone, somewhere, some food for thought, if nothing else!
We all know this as Christians! Preachers have led sermons with snippets of this message. Yet nothing really changes. It’s just lip service. It’s really hard to take the step to accept grace and to start loving all of our brothers and sisters as we want to be loved. Having done this, I feel more alive in the spirit than I ever had. Leaving religion and “church” in the rearview mirror is the best thing I have ever done. My spiritual and emotional health has greatly improved because of it. Thanks, Chris, for putting these ideas out there. “A voice crying in the wilderness”
Well said, Dan! Thanks for reading and commenting!
You are such a milquetoast. I never know where you stand….
Thanks again for calling out the bullshit by the organized church.
Thank God that someone else besides myself is thinking along the same lines. You are talking about the #CINO (Christian in name only).
Jesus is the Answer
The Bible, the foundation of the Christian faith, begins with these words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Is it as if God came from nowhere and created everything out of nothing. But who is this God, anyway? The apostle John answers: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
Then he continues, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). It is indeed a great mystery that the One who declared, “Let there be light” and there was light; is the One who cried out on Calvary’s cross, “Father forgive them, for they know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Of all people, the apostle Paul confesses his ignorance, nevertheless expresses the reality and his acceptance of this Great Exchange project. Says he, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
As we individually, as a nation and as a world are confronted with the challenges of seemingly unexplainable and insoluble problems, most of humanity including many who call themselves Christians, seem oblivious to the Only Answer to all of humanity woes. Jesus is the Answer. No, I am not referring to the rituals of December 25th, the first weekend in April or any of the others in between. I am talking about the intimate, abiding relationship with the One who gave up His governorship of the illimitable universe to walk the dusty streets of Palestine and surrendered His life on a place called Golgotha.
His beloved apostle John puts it most succinctly, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to be obedient to Him even as He was totally obedient to His Father. From His lips proceed these words, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10).
But how few listen, look to and obey Him? Instead, intellectual philosophy, ecclesiastical dogmas, human inventions, political mechanizations, and worldly entertainment have supplanted the One who is the Only Answer. Reminds me of the Gospel writer who prophesied, “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach” (Isaiah 4:1).
Jesus wants to remind us that He is the Bread of Life. He is the Light of the world. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Resurrection and the life. He is the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Great I AM. Whatever confronts you today, He is lovingly pleading, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Yes indeed, Jesus is the Answer.
I have been depressed for the last few weeks. It’s like I’m watch my church burn and I am standing next to the fire alarm, but I just can’t pull it. I know it had to burn. What I just read nails it. Chris, I have never heard of you before but I want to hear more. I just ordered your book. God bless you.
Ed, thanks so much for connecting with me! Hope you enjoy the book!
This. Thank you for so beautifully articulating everything that I too, feel in my heart and soul
Thank you Cheryl!
Chris, I just discovered you through Michael Camp’s Spiritual Brewpub podcast. I was the next author Michael interviewed after you. I just want to tell you that you are a great spokesman for reason. I LOVE what you have to say and that you don’t hesitate to say it. I studied the entire history of Christianity in researching and writing my book, In Search of Christian Origins, and now I can trace almost any bad or unloving policy in our country back to some Christian source.
Any way, keep at it and so will I.
Thanks so much for reaching out, Steve!