I’m starting to see that the story of the woman caught in adultery is one of the most influential stories in the bible…at least to me. It has been a story that has always caused people to reflect on themselves, putting themselves in the place of the stone throwers. This is always good. We need to critique ourselves. We need to be honest with ourselves to the point that we become better at being kind to others….wanting what’s best for others. It’s the whole body that thrives as we share each others burdens that makes this all work. When we make it all about how righteous we are, how well I obey God, or that we are going to heaven when we die, then we make it very exclusive and we shun those who are on the outside. We see crazy examples like Westboro Baptist that show how our doctrines can actually destroy others through righteous exclusivity. If you go to a church out of obedience to God, that’s where it can start. That “I’m righteous because I’m obedient” attitude grows in us when it’s fed by the pastors that enable it from the pulpit. This is what we must critique in ourselves…the ability to exclude which tears us from the body. Our ability to want to pick up the stone and throw it is real…our obedience to our doctrines justifies the cutting off of another from the body. We feel vindicated to cut the branch off the vine in the name of God….as if God is demanding it. But God is not!
One definition of the word Syndrome is, “A complex of symptoms indicating the existence of an undesirable condition or quality”. Along with that, the definition of Symptom is, “a sign of the existence of something, esp. of an undesirable situation”. So, a Syndrome is a bunch of Symptoms combined to make an undesirable condition. I have heard over and over again phrases like, “My Church does it like this”, or “My Church doesn’t do that”. Or, the big one, “If you want to really hear God’s Word, come to my Church”. These phrases are the symptoms of a great disease called the “My Church Syndrome”. It’s very dangerous, contagious and very much alive today with in the Evangelical world. What we are doing, and I recognize that a lot of times it is done with good intentions, is we are declaring and believing that God is more in tune at “My Church” than at another… or that God is more accessible at “My Church” than another… or that God is working in us at “My Church” more than another. This is dangerous to believe because it is the way the world thinks. However, we live with this syndrome every week, and we show these symptoms every day. It is divisive and contrary to the Kingdom of God.