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Ron Sider mentioned similar things in his most recent book -- Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience. The "church" really doesn't act like the church Jesus instructed us to be. The "church" really doesn't act much differently than the world does. Oh, we believe differently, but we don't act differently whatsoever. What does that REALLY tell us about our beliefs? What does that tell us about believing in general? I know that Christianity isn't works-based, but people are supposed to know us by our love and by the evidence of the fruit of the spirit in our lives. I don't see too much of that lately, whether in the White House, on religious programming, or in religious bookstores (I can say THAT because I work in one).


Ah, the endless cycle of trying to answer the problems of consumerism/materialism by building systems around consuming.

Is it too much to hope that churches can rise out of the "mall complex" to become strong, prophetic communities instead of a testing ground for the latest marketing theories?


It really makes me sad to think of how much money churches (all churches, large and tiny) spend on maintaining themselves.

I used to work in a church that was spiraling out of control. Although it was a very disfunctional place, it was indicative of a larger problem.

In a meeting discussing the dire situation of the church, the chairman of the board actually said this, "Our situation isn't as bad as we think. All we need to do is figure out how to get 500 people attending regularly. Because 500 is the number where the average sunday giving matches our interest payments on the building".

The goal of our churches becomes the survival of our churches.

I had a conversation with a friend about his job. He said that he couldn't believe that he was still with the same company after 12 years. At times he thought about quitting, but with a wife and kid and a mortgage, what's a guy to do.

This is where we've come to. We've invested ourselves too much in what we have, and even if what we have isn't really working, it's better than having nothing at all.

We are an abused spiritual generation who don't know what real health looks like or even how to start looking. We know only codependance, guilt and fear. What we need is to be reborn.


A friend told me recently, "My drug of choice is more." True of so many of us.

Jesus said, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." [Luke 12:48] In the United States, many of us operate more along the lines of, "Everyone who has received much will demand even more."

The Tao Te Ching says, "The one who knows he has enough is rich."


I recall reading some time back that Catholic young people who are interested in adoration of the Eucharist are not necessarily theologically conservative or reactionary. They have just discovered that this is a place where they can be quiet and reflective for an extended period of time, and they like that. When churches become like the mall, where will we go to be alone with that "sound of a fine silence" in which God spoke to Elijah on the mountain long ago?

God does speak in the coffee bar, too. St. Teresa said to her nuns, "The Lord also walks among the pots and pans." But sometimes we need the silence...

I think religion or spirituality that is not transformative hardly deserves the name. Otherwise it is just a culture or a lifestyle.

Dr. Mike Kear

Imagine what could be accomplished if all that money was invested into the Jesus kind of Christianity - feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the naked, healing the sick. Something tells me that then we would see some change - in both the givers and the receivers.



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