I wrote this a few years back while I was pastoring a small church in a rural community in North Western Colorado.
It is popular, in some circles, to bash Christianity under the guise of “organized religion” and to do so by alleging that “organized religion” is more about form than function. In other words, “organized religion” is more about theology and less about loving people. Therefore the truly spiritual, that is those that are able to recognize and diagnose these glaring problems within the church, are led by their angst to engage in methods that more closely resemble the occupy movement than anything else. The odd thing is that this angst, this protest against “organized religion” does little if anything to remedy the problems they decry. To put it another way these “occupiers” are, at least in theory, all for social justice but in reality do little or nothing to further it. Besides that, the criticism brought against “organized religion” will simply not stand scrutiny. Let me give you an example drawn from the small town we live in, Meeker, Co.
If you need help paying your electric bill in Meeker, Co. there is one place you can go for help: organized religion. If you are hungry and need food at anytime of the day or night there in only one place, you can go to: organized religion. If you are travelling through our town, run out of gas and appeal to the gas station or the Sheriff’s department for help they will send you to, you guessed it, organized religion. If you need help paying your rent your best bet is to turn to organized religion. If you are a stranger and need a place to stay a phone call will secure you a room for the night in the local hotel and that call will probably come from, again, organized religion. If you need a coat next winter, where is the best place to find one, for free? Organized religion. If you do not want your children being educated in the government school, where do you turn? Organized religion. If you are pregnant and need help, the only place you can go in complete confidentiality and safety is to: organized religion. Organized religion accounts for probably 75 or 80% of the so-called “social safety net” in our county, if not more. The funny thing is that I see lots more men with clerical collars helping with this than I do guys with ear rings and guitars. Therefore the criticism falls very short of the mark.
It may be that folks making the above sorts of criticism are unaware of the good, the centuries of good, that the Christian Church (organized religion) has done. If that is the case then I would admonish said individuals against building straw men. No doubt the Christian church is a work in progress, indeed she is. It is also true that we are, in many ways, still in our infancy. We are and so let us press on and let us admonish those who, in the name of Christ, stand on the sidelines and point “that even now the ax is laid at the root of the tree, therefore bear fruit worthy of repentance”. “From the days of John until now the kingdom of God has been coming violently and the violent bear it away”. “Faith with out works is dead” and “He who has ears to hear let him hear”.