Yesterday it occurred to me just how hollow churches have become. Maybe it’s something of a loss of innocence for me, given that I just told my wife to move out, but all I see is fake when I go to church. It’s all cliche and patriotism. People can’t tell the difference between cliches and scripture, or patriotism and Christian morality. I’m not saying this is a new thing, but walking through the doors of certain churches and you will hear, “I’m glad you are here today” from people who either don’t mean it or think attendance is a sacrament (like baptism, communion, or things like that). Many who attend these churches are excited, and that’s good, but it’s shallow. They don’t know why they’re happy to see you, they just know it’s what people want to hear or what they are told to say. The next time you go to church and hear someone say they’re happy you’re there, ask them why. The answers most likely will be cliches, and the answer behind the answer will be entirely self-serving.
This isn’t anything that I want to associate myself with because it’s not real Christianity. These are the people who hate homosexuals and can’t give well thought out reasons why. They’ll say, “the Bible says it’s a sin” but they can’t really tell you why the Bible says it, specific verses to support their claims, or anything beyond the words chosen in their preferred Bible translation. Their response to someone questioning their beliefs are cliches or outright anger. I mean you can’t judge a group by only experiencing a few churches, but the number people who are like this is beyond too high.
These are the people Jesus spoke of in Luke 13: 24-28 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door. Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up for us! ’ He will answer you, ‘are I don’t know you or where you’re from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets! ’ But He will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from. Get away from Me, all you workers of unrighteousness! ’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown out.” The people who think they are going to heaven, but aren’t. They have been deceived or are themselves deluded. Their responses are only parroting what they have heard from others. The people they follow deliver sermons full of myth and self importance designed to make people feel good about themselves at the expense of people outside their comfort zone. Most religions are exclusive and some are even exclusionary, but Christianity is not supposed to be one of them. The road to heaven isn’t narrow because God excludes so many, but because few have the courage or the desire to truly follow Christ. That’s a commitment to study the Bible deeply, and throw out culture and tradition. To think critically and not be lazy and accept blindly what others have to say. To really believe that your life and afterlife depend on learning all that you can, and always be prepared to give an answer for why you believe what you believe.