Is it possible to be passionately apathetic?
If so, count me in.
I grew up in the church. But in recent years I've found myself caring less about many of the issues I used to think mattered so much. I’m not just apathetic about them, I’m passionately apathetic.
Apathetic enough not to care. Passionate enough to write about them anyway.
I’m not even upset about them. It's more about setting priorities than being right or wrong.
Some are church-and-culture issues. For those, you can read Six Church-and-Culture Issues I Don't Care About Any More.
Some are church-insider issues. That’s what today’s post is about.
These are issues that church insiders care a great deal about, but outsiders (and most regular church folks) don’t care about at all.
I’ve decided to join them.
1. I Don't Care How Big Your Church Is – Or Mine
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has read The Grasshopper Myth or my blog posts.
I used to care about church size. I worked really hard to get my church to grow, then felt completely devastated when the promised results didn't materialize.
Not any more.
I truly have no preferences on church size. Big churches aren't better than small ones, or vice versa.
I write about and for small churches, not because they're better, but because they’ve been under-resourced and I want to help.
But the argument over which is better? I don't care any more.
2. I Don't Care About Denominational or Cultural Differences
If you worship Jesus, honor scripture and love people, that's all that matters.
Does your church like using candles in worship? Light them.
Raising your hands? Lift them.
Loud music? Turn up the volume.
Quiet, contemplative prayer? Dim the lights.
Baptists should worship like Baptists. Pentecostals like Pentecostals. Lutherans like Luther. Methodists methodically.
The same goes for distinctives of culture, race, ethnicity, age and so on.
You honor Jesus in your way, I'll honor him in mine. When I visit your church, not only will I not try to change you, I'll probably enjoy the differences. When you visit ours, pay us the same respect.
If we're worshiping the same Jesus, we should be able to work together without arguing over cultural distinctives. If we're not worshiping the same Jesus? I’ll leave that to Jesus.
3. I Don't Care About Church Mission Statements
When we talk about something, it feels like we've done something. I think that's happened with a lot of church mission statements. We fooled ourselves into thinking that writing about it was as good as doing it.
As I said in Why 'Just Preach the Gospel' Is Naïve, Unbiblical Advice, the gospel is never just about using the right words. It has to be accompanied by right action.
If your church has a phrase that helps people understand what makes your church distinctive and inspires them into mission, great. My church and this blog each have one.
But if your church is healthy with no mission statement but the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, that's okay, too.
4. I Don't Care About Sermon Length
We need to stop arguing about this. There's no ideal sermon length for everyone.
Figure out what needs to be said, then say it in the best way possible.
I'd rather hear an awesome hour-long sermon than a lousy ten-minute one. Or a great ten-minute one than a lousy hour-long one.
5. I Don't Care About How People Dress for Church
Wear a suit and tie, a dress, jeans, a sari, a kilt, short sleeves, long sleeves, tucked-in or untucked.
Dress suitably for your culture and your mission. Cover what needs to be covered and drop the bling. Dressing out of pride or rebellion is as sinful as dressing immodestly.
If you're old-school, quit mourning that we've lowered our standards just because some pastors dress casually. If you're casual, stop telling old-school churches they have to wear skinny jeans to reach their culture.
Leave the fashion shows for the runway. Keep them out of the church lobby – and the pulpit.
6. I Don't Care About the Christian Media Subculture
I will no longer give a pass to poor quality in the media just because it's faith-based.
I only have the time and the patience for quality. Quality that starts with artistic passion and authenticity, not surface-level flash. If that quality comes with a Christian worldview, great.
But I will never again utter the phrase, "well that was pretty good – for a Christian movie."
Jesus didn’t call us to create an environment where Christians can have everything “sanitized for your safety.”
He called us to holiness, grace, love and other very dangerous things.
We can't be the light of the world if we refuse to step outside our Christian subculture bubble. And this world could use a lot more light right now.
Now that's something I do care about.
(For more, read Six Church-and-Culture Issues I Don't Care About Any More.)
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