A short quote from Jared’s post:
You will not hear about dark nights of the soul from the likes of Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen and Paula White (who, with her husband, is treating their divorce this week like a hiccup that doesn’t matter much to their “ministry” aims — which means keeping the gravy train running). You will not hear about the real world and the real gospel in response to it from these charlatans because they are afraid you might actually become satisfied in Christ and tire of their lies. They need you discontent so that you will still need them to pick you up.
And if you think this crap is limited to the name-it-claim-it crowd, you are mistaken. It has been creeping into our evangelical churches for years, and you see this discontentment with the Gospel every time you hear a message that treats the Bible like an advice column or a self-help quote book or that treats worship like a performance. Any time the purpose of worship is YOU, you might as well be getting the holy spirit pixie dust from Rod Parsley. It’s the same false gospel, just packaged for a different crowd.
When you’ve read all of Jared’s post, please go and read the NakedPastor, David Hayward’s Brutal Beaters.
I recently received a thoughtful comment from another blogger. I checked out her blog and discovered that she had begun as a devout Christian, but through a series of attempts at running a kind of chat-room for Christians, she decided that she just couldn’t be a part of all that crap and eventually became agnostic and now a kind of universalist. Whatever she is doesn’t matter to me. What matters is how she got there: beaten and wounded by the church and the people in it. I’ve been thinking about the story of the Good Samaritan: in sermons we hear different angles on who represents us in the story. Sometimes we are the different people who pass the wounded man by. Sometimes we represent the inn-keeper who will take care of the wounded man. Sometimes we identify with the wounded man himself. Sometimes we are compared to the Samaritan who actually helps the man. I have an idea: how about we compare ourselves with the people who beat him up and robbed him and left him for dead? I’m seeing it all over the map. Not just strangers, but friends and family of mine. I know more people wounded and damaged by the church than those who have benefited from it. And the people who seem to benefit from it are mostly the brutal beaters.
Please read David’s entire post.
UPDATE: As Pastor M rightly points out in the comments, Ed Brenegar’s post (which I read very early this morning) is also an important post in this conversation.