Sunday, July 02, 2006

Peer Pressure Christianity

Is it that art reflects reality, or reality reflects art? I think a more relevant question is: does Christianity reflect the times, or do the times reflect Christianity?

Unfortunately, I believe Christianity reflects the times. As a former network marketer (we still use and like the products), a key concept I was taught was "community" - the bigger and tighter knit the community, the more loyalty between business associates, less communicated doubt about business practices and motive, and lower inclination to leave for fear of losing touch with friends. Okay, no problem for business, even though it does lead to groupthink.

Let's move now to church growth. What is the main point behind most congregational activities? Building community, that's what! Why? Because, once you "belong", you'll start to feel a loyalty to the group, and have more inclination to stay affiliated with them; or conversely, less inclination to leave. The problem with this in Christianity is twofold:

1) It sets up loyalty based on persons and earthly affiliations, not on Christian reasons for affiliation.
2) It sets the stage for personality-based leadership, a.k.a. cult of personality, among the leaders of the religious movement. No matter what the leaders say, the followers will blindly follow.

This is not a belief in Christ, or what Christ has done for us. Rather, this builds a peer pressure among the group to remain together, and not question the beliefs. So you have "Christianity" based on community and common likes and dislikes. It is a great motive for building numbers, but a poor motive for proclaiming the Gospel.

So, Christianity - which should be never-changing - reflects the times. Ugh!

8 comments:

Marie N. said...

Our cynicism is showing!

Barb the Evil Genius said...

The Church, Christ's Bride, is spotless in His sight. But since a church is made up of individual faulty people, an individual church will reflect the people in it, and the times they live in.

You may look skeptically at "community" from the vantage point of your background. However, from my point of view, we came to Christ Lutheran to find good theology and just happened to find a great community. You guys accept us with all our faults, and we accept you with all of yours. ;) But a devotion to the pure Word of God is at the center of the Christ Lutheran community.

Quipper said...

Agreed! We did not come to Christ Lutheran looking for community; we came for the inerrant Word proclaimed accurately and properly. We did not come looking for a social group.

I would rather stumble onto good community while searching for proper proclamation of the Word, than vice versa. I realize, however, that the path of least resistance is the latter.

Anonymous said...

You will do what I say. Write another good article like this. Don't question me. Just do it. You've been told.

Quipper said...

FYI - I'm having Jack Bauer check into all anonymous posts.

Sir Darth Merlin Bilbollum Finn said...

Good post. This past Sunday, I attended a church that is the implied beter type of your post, Sheperd of the Springs in Colorado Springs. They are by far the smallest of the many LCMS churches in Colorado Springs, but the 20 or 30 attendees were there for the good worship, not just to be part of a community.

Scott said...

This is not a belief in Christ, or what Christ has done for us. Rather, this builds a peer pressure among the group to remain together, and not question the beliefs.

And by the way, it is brainwashing, and the practice of cults...

Andas an aside: why is it called "Word Verification?" smneqcu is not a word...

Quipper said...

Neither is gzkngccr, but the Artist and I have fun trying to pronounce the "word".