This is the idea that no church is original, but all churches are mimicking other successful churches that are, in turn, mimicking other churches that have been successful. See the pattern? “What? How can this be? My church is amazing!” Famous words from just about everyone that goes and commits to a church. However, the reality is, we do copy other successful churches. Your church is no different than 1000 others out there. Look around. The music is the same, the sermons are the same, the dress is the same. We copy each other so much that Christianity is a very recognizable sub-culture in our day and age. We even have our own language….that many like to joke about called “christianese”. Interestingly enough, none of these qualities that we see on Sunday mornings are used to describe who a follower of Christ is. Love is the only quality. Loving those around you, including your enemies, are the qualities of the Kingdom of God.
I will make a quick note….There is a place for the Sacraments. I recognize that. We will all do them in some way, shape, or form that looks like other churches. However, can these not be done at home or in small groups or wherever? A church or denomination do not own the Sacraments, they just use them. They cannot control them, they can only hold them over you waiting to see if you respond. Do the Sacraments in freedom with your loved ones that you are in relationship with. They are beautiful and do not need to be done within a religious organization to be meaningful.
What I really want to point out is, God is not in a church building purely because of success (or even failure). In fact, that could be an indication that God is far from it, if we want to use “distance” to describe the situation. We need to get out of the mindset that success needs to be mimicked, or copied. Jesus was not driven by results, but by Love. God is Love. God is Light, in which there is no darkness. Have you ever experienced a church where the pastor belittles another person to preserve the religious business? It has happened many times over, yet we mimic these hierarchical structures that drive business like results. We don’t see those who are cast aside, but we copy the structure of what we see as successful…usually by worldly standards, because we desire that same success we seen in other people or institutions. Think about it…can we choose success of a church over a person? Can we choose a career over the love of another person that has been hurt. Believe it or not, these decisions are placed on church staff’s plates all the time. Money, or success in many forms, has been chosen over another person time and time again. Jesus is different. The Gospel stands with those cast aside.
Just think about all of this. We copy each other out of fear, right?…fear of failure. Think about what Love really does towards another person. Is there anything in the world that is more valuable than another human being or God’s creation for that matter? If we choose to Love, then copying another has no more value. We have lost the need to be right or successful. Love casts out fear….fear that comes from copying those around you to fit in and be successful. Don’t be a copycat, be one that loves those around you….and that’s it! Didn’t Jesus say, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”? think about it…think about Love displayed by Christ. Remember, copying another comes from the desire you have of something someone else has that you do not….churches included. Jesus is different.
By the way, you cannot give money to Israel and think God will bless you based off of Genesis 12:3….that’s crazy talk (yes…church’s actually teach that).