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Church Culture

there's a certain culture that exists in modern american protestant churches. it exists in varying degrees across denominations and movements, but there are at least elements of it in nearly every church that i've been to. i don't think i can necessarily pin it down or describe it very well, but i know it's there. it's always there. i hate to call it Christian bookstore culture, but that's a pretty big part of it. as with any culture, there are certain expectations of you if you claim to be part of it...expectations both from outside the church and within. and in both cases the expectations are more cultural than they are biblical. i feel pretty trapped lately, because i know that i don't really fit either set of expectations and it's so difficult to just be honest.

there are quite a few problems with this modern culture in the church. it creates an environment that is just naturally uncomfortable for anyone that isn't a part of it. as open as any church might claim to be or want to be, this pervading church culture subconsciously pushes people away, because it's still too tightly defined and based on the wrong things. it is mostly focused on separating the church from the world rather than reaching out to the world. yes, as Christians we are called to be different than the world, but church culture has missed the point of how we're supposed to be different. the number one thing that should set us apart is our love...or more specifically, God's love through us. not what radio station we listen to. not what clothes we wear. not what CDs we buy. not what weekend conventions we go to. not what bumper stickers are on our car. not even what moral choices we make, because we all make bad moral choices. can all of those things help set us apart? sure. but they shouldn't be what defines the difference between us and the world, and yet to so many people both in and out of the church, they are. ideally, church culture should be a much simpler, stripped-down culture based in love, perpetual grace, reverance, and a striking level of openness.

sometimes i wish there was a way to just kill all of that other cultural noise and start fresh.

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