Divided World, Divided Church

Our new sermon series is “I Believe” where we will be looking at The Apostle’s Creed. Every Sunday congregations across denominations use this creed as an affirmation of faith.  This ancient creed states the fundamental beliefs of our Christian faith. However, as we are stating what we believe about God more and more people are stating that they don’t believe in God at all. Even greater numbers of people may believe in God but are leaving the church.

I can understand why people don’t believe in God. Those who don’t believe at all aren’t making their judgement based any one religion, congregation, or believer. They are reacting to the generalization of religion in media and particularly social media. When one sees people committing acts of terror in the name of religion or committing genocide in the name of religion or bombing abortion clinics in the name of religion, I can understand why people would not believe in God. If that is what I knew of God, I wouldn’t believe in God either. 

I can also understand why people are leaving the church.  Christians are as polarized as any group of people in our society. We are no different than the politicians and social extremist.  We are disrespecting one another and attempting to do damage to one another all in the name of God. People are getting tired of all the fighting and polarization and they are simply walking away from the church, but hopefully not God. If I’m honest there are days when the thought has crossed my mind. 

Differences of opinion has been a part of our faith from the very beginning, whether to accept the Gentiles and whether or not they had to be circumcised. We have Eastern Christians and Western Christians. We have countless numbers of denominations all because we have a difference of opinion about interpreting scripture. We have two major problems in the church. One, we have lost a sense of humility and claim “I’m right so you must be wrong.” Arrogance and extremism have taken hold in the church. You don’t have to agree with someone to respect them.  The lack of humility leads to the second problem, we can’t sit down with one another and have civil conversation.

Even though many of our actions in the church, at times, look nothing like Jesus, I stay because of what I believe. I believe in a God who redeems, a God who will not walk away from us even when we stray from God. My hope for our world and the Church is in a God who loves everyone unconditionally even when we can’t. My prayer for the Church is that love will win over hate, that respect will win over disrespect and the humility will win over arrogance. May the Church look more like Jesus.  

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