This post makes more sense if you take into account that the name of this blog used to be, “The Church Agitator.” God moves us to different places as we grow. I’m in a different place now than I was then. There’s a story behind that if you want to read it.
I need to say from the outset that this wasn’t my goal. I love the church. I’m going to say this a lot: I LOVE THE CHURCH. Not just my local band of believers, but the church as an idea, the church that Jesus left us stewardship of. I want to see the church thrive and become something that does everything that Acts says it used to.
But then I have questions. I didn’t intend to become the guy that people hate to see coming — and really, I think I’m pretty likable — but I do have some questions. Sometimes I have opinions. Okay, the opinions are not just sometimes. I form these by listening to guys that I wish I could be more like… Francis Chan, for one. And the apostle Paul. The prophet Habakkuk. I see a courage in them that caused people to take notice, but then I see a courage in others, like Jeremiah, that remained steadfast despite the fact that nobody paid attention.
I see things happening in scripture that I think are way too rare today. I see a group of people that was so radical in their time, they had to be killed to be silenced. I see God holding them to such a high standard that he struck their members stone dead when they didn’t act like the church. Then I look around me, and I see people who would rather buy Starbucks every day than lift a finger to help the poor.
I am those people. This restless spirit that God gave me turns the tables on me all the time. I don’t do what I should. Most the time, I believe I fail. I don’t think that lets me off the hook, though. The questions I want to ask are every bit as much meant for me as the rest of the Church in the world. Maybe more so, and that’s probably the way it should be.
So look, God puts irritating people who ask uncomfortable questions in churches because somebody has to ask those questions. Lou Holtz says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” I think that’s our job. Church agitators aren’t just there to drive you nuts, they’re there to encourage a fresh view of the gospel.
I hope this blog gives strength to others. People whose pastors try to change the subject in most of their conversations. People whose small groups say things like,”good question,” and then move hurriedly on to another topic. We’re not here to ruin the church. We’re here as part of a mechanism to keep it growing, I believe firmly.
So that’s where I am. I’m starting this blog as part of a rough year, spiritually. I don’t want to whine. I don’t want to lecture anybody. I just want us to ask honest questions so that this beautiful establishment, given to us by a man who conquered death, doesn’t stray from its original set of missions and become irrelevant.