Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wal-Mart is Killing the Church

Let me start by pointing out that Rich Van Voorst has posted the latest blog in our series on Worship and Theology over at his blog. This post is number 4. We will begin numbering our post so you can follow the flow better.

Ok, to my thoughts:

Wal-Mart killing the church. There, I said it.

Ok, So I don’t mean that Sam Walton is out to destroy Christianity. I am pretty sure he isn’t.



What I mean is the philosophy that drives Wal-Mart is bleeding into our concept of church in ways that are disconcerting.

When you go to Wal-Mart you are confronted with a dizzying array of choices. What kind of orange soda does my mother-in-law want? Shasta? Sunkist? Orange Crush? Fanta? Sam’s Choice? Nehi? Barrilitos? Even worse, what if she wants carbonated orange drink that isn’t soda; the choices increase exponentially.

So there I stand in the aisle dedicated to soda, reeling at my choices.

But I am not that worried. If I pick the wrong one and she wants another, though it will be a pain, all I have to is go back and get the right one.

We can have anything we want custom made. I presided over a weeding a few years ago where the bride and groom had M&M’s made with their names on them. How cool is that!

Unfortunately we have brought this mentality to church. Our commitment only runs as deep as the given churches commitment to make us happy. If anything changes that we don’t like, we quit and go somewhere that fits our needs.

If they serve Matza bread at communion, we leave for the Church of the Leavened Bread. If they don’t cater to our needs we find someone who will. This is what has created 27,647 distinct IRS recognized church divisions in the United states.

You could go to a different denomination once a day, everyday from the day you were born and would not finish visiting them all until you were 75!

We have got to commit to a church and believe that we are a part of that body. If we believe that the Bible is true, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that people to not join churches at random. They are created to be specific part of a body at a specific time. They are not created to endlessly seek what makes them happy.

It is not always easy, but we are created for a specific church and that church needs us, and we need them.

7 comments:

Danny Stiling said...

To further compare the Church to WalMart, I think that we come to church expecting to always receive something...to get something out of it.

We never walk into WalMart thinking "man, I really hope I can encourage the employees and spur them on towards better services"...in the same way, we don't come to church to contribute...we feel that it's all about us and what we can receive.

I'm not saying that we can't receive anything when we go to church...after all, the gospel message isn't about what we can contribute, because we have nothing to offer Christ. However with the church, we are commanded to serve.

Justin Woodall said...

Danny, Great point!

paulshirley said...

I like it Justin. In fact, I have a guy that I am discipling who is going to here this analogy later this week...

...do I need to use Turabian formating to cite you when I use it?

ryanjanus said...

To continue your Wal-Mart analogy, Wal-Mart is not really the place that has everything. Rather, they always have ALMOST what you need. I once went to Wal-Mart with a list of four items - count 'em, four - and left empty-handed because they didn't have a single one. The hardware dept. attendant actually laughed when I told him I needed a bastard file - the hardware guy had no idea what that was! But I digress. I think the reason there are so many denominations is exactly what you're saying. We want a church to be exactly what we need, and if there isn't one, well, we'll either just not go or create our own. We're making God in our image. Attending a church that believes EXACTLY what you do takes no work ... and no faith.

jaigner said...

This sort of thing is because of the pragmatic form that evangelical Christianity has taken since the mid 1970s. This mentality says that God is important insofar as God can help me and meet my felt needs. God is like therapy or medicine - He makes me feel better.

What a stark contrast to historical Christianity.

http://jaaigner.blogspot.com/

ron milz said...

I think we are all thinking in terms of people who have left the church and that we are frustrated by the fact that someone may like another kind of soda. I think that this analogy is a good one if we thought that God made everyone the same but he didnt. We need to realize that there are some that leave for the reasons that you discuss but there are also those that love to drink fresca instead of coke. Has Walmart done this or has God done this by giving us all different gifts and tastes. I do think some are flipant about there belief system but we cant lump all of the other denominations into a lumpsum of disgruntled shoppers walmart caters to as many as they can because some like Ale and some like just plain old Budwieser. how do you like the beer analogy Justin it makes me thirsty got to go.

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