Churches are Exclusive Tribes…and I Think We Know It

We get together every Sunday with the assumption that all people are welcome at our churches. At a very surface level…I would say that this is true for most religious institutionswpid-wp-1445831558461.pngHowever, something goes on inside of us that causes us to then put stipulations on those who want to be in the inner circle. Something makes us think that we need others to be fairly similar to what we think, believe, and live. What we really want is others to join our tribe….with every belief that God has blessed our tribe more than another tribe, which usually looks alot like our tribe since we copy each other. Read the cartoon…What we don’t seem to realize is, we pile up our rocks (metaphor for the box we put God in) and tell everyone around us that our pile of rocks is where God is…all the while we exclude everyone else that we dont deem worthy or who doesn’t even want to be in our tribe. Ask yourself….do you feel that your church (tribe) is where God is because they only “teach the bible”? Have you said…”Come to my church if you want to hear God“. If you said yes, you may want to think about how that feels to those who are rejected by your tribe. It hurts…and Jesus is different.

4 thoughts on “Churches are Exclusive Tribes…and I Think We Know It

  1. Thank you for the post. It’s important to broach this issue because the exclusivity that’s so prevalent within our churches stems from how we believe in our hearts. It’s another manifestation of how far off from the true Faith we can stray when we our focus isn’t on the Word, but on the world.

    I wasn’t born into a church going family, and I didn’t grow up going to church. In all honesty, it was wholly by the grace of God, and the faithfulness of Jesus Christ that salvation came to me. I am not unique in that though. Our God, our Savior, our Lord seeks us all with arms outstretched looking for every opportunity to enter into our lives, and radically save us from ourselves.

    That is exactly what the Word speaks to me when I read the gospels. From top to bottom throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, there are stories of His extravagant love towards people who were pariahs in their society. He touched the “unclean”, ate with tax collectors, and healed and blessed those who were deemed inferior by the culture around Him.

    I would like to tell a story about my own experience, just to try and better frame the point I am trying to convey. I struggled with mental illness for a long time, something that the professionals I would see labeled paranoid schizophrenia. Towards the end of my illness, before my mind was renewed in Jesus Christ, my quality of life was, well there was no quality. I attempted suicide twice, with the last attempt only proving unsuccessful because of God’s love, and patience.

    When I got out of the hospital, a friend of mine invited me to her church. I slowly began to attend Sunday services. The people were warm, and the pastor would at times preach some of the most unadulterated Word that I’ve heard spoken in a sanctuary. They kindled my passion for God, which I will always be grateful to them for, and it was there that I learned something for the first time. I was seen for who I truly was, I was acknowledged, and I was loved.

    I didn’t learn that from the people at the church, or from the pastor. I would often speak about my struggles, or what I was dealing with mentally, and I would be told that I wasn’t ill, or that there was nothing really wrong with me. Now I’m not faulting them, or even pointing an accusing finger, because in all honesty they were practicing a belief they earnestly felt was helpful. Where I did find those things was in the words of Jesus which called out to me in stark contrast to what was being demonstrated by the church. He was saying, “You are healed.”

    He acknowledged my pain, my suffering, my weakness. He took them upon Himself, embraced me broken, and imperfect, and healed me in love. You can’t mend what isn’t broken, or heal that which isn’t sick. Our God knows our faults, our frailty, our humanity, and He sent His son, Jesus Christ, in the image of sin to be the ultimate sign of His love, and acknowledgement of us no matter who we are, or what we are going through. We are all sinners, and yet He still loves us, even unto death.

    We, as followers of Christ, believers in the Word, can’t allow divisiveness within our hearts, and minds, when He so unconditionally acknowledges, and freely loves us, warts and all. We are all broken, we are all sick, and we all need to show the compassion that our God shows us so that those who have not yet found their healing, can.

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
    May the peace, and love of our Lord Jesus Christ find you all, amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wanted to elaborate a little further on my reply from last week.

    Exclusivity is not something that’s exclusive to churches. However, it is one of those unfortunate things from the world that finds it’s way into many of our sanctuaries, and I think that’s because the underlying cause that drives it is one of those “thin line” issues that really requires discernment to walk in balance with. There shouldn’t be any discouragement though, remember that this was an issue even back in the beginning of the church. Read Galatians chapter 2.

    The Word calls us to separate from the world, and from those whose living is worldly, but requires us to be open, and receptive to people. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially given our propensity to think, and experience things in a worldly way. It’s much easier to categorize people, and draw a distinct line of separation, than to have the intricate, refined relationships that God calls us to have.

    To get back to my example, that separation is what caused otherwise caring people, not to be able to relate, and connect with me on a mutual level. If we can’t acknowledge everything about each other, then there is no equality observed between us. When equality isn’t observed, we get separation, and exclusion. That’s why it’s always important to turn to the example of Jesus Christ as a measure of where we stand in our execution of faithful belief.

    We cannot love our neighbor, if we cannot love our neighbor. Love does not mean to compromise though. Was Jesus’ righteousness compromised when he chose to forgive the adulteress? Absolutely not, if anything she was edified by His love, and faithfulness. We are called to do the same. Love even those who are yet still in the world, so that they too may be edified, and separated unto God with us. Our faithfulness is measured out first, and foremost in our own hearts, then reflected in our external interactions. We have to get right in our hearts, to get right in our actions.

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make all your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

    Love you guys. In Jesus Christ’s holy name be blessed, amen.


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