HURRICANE HARVEY AND PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN – WHY THE CHURCH NEEDS TO GET MORE PHYSICAL
Over the the last 3 days I have watched in a state of almost tears as I saw the way people attacked Joel Osteen on his apparent lack of action. The thing everyone on “the Internet” was mad about was how Joel did not immediately open up his megachurch, Lakewood, to house all the displaced people fleeing the flooding after Hurricane Harvey.
Now, it’s worth noting that “the Internet” are people who said some things on Twitter and Facebook then got their voice amplified by media outlets and viral memes. On the internet, 3 days is an eternity. Even now, after the church released a statement to say they are open, the verdict of the online jury is that it’s too little too late.
For full details on what Lakewood Church was doing, see here:
This, however, is not what I’m talking about here. This article is for Christians and churches, my tribe, as a warning that occurrences like this are only going to increase. We have to do something now in order to prevent ourselves from becoming irrelevant in the 21st century and becoming the target of public frustration and anger. More importantly, however, we need to do something now in order to get back to being God representatives on the earth.
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19
What we are seeing is a frustration that the created earth (including non-Christians) feels as a result of being increasingly confronted with problems that they cannot solve. That anxiety and frustration becomes a cover for those who hate Jesus and His followers to point the finger of blame and direct the fury of the world towards us.
And this, unfortunately, will keep happening if we continue to separate ourselves to spirituality in a world that is physical and tangible. And this is the reason that my UnChurched page exists! I have been talking about and am continuing to cry reasoning with Christians that while being spiritual is important, converting our spirituality into that which is useful to solving the problems of earth is the principal thing.
While God is spiritual, He has given us a physical body so that we can act on His behalf on the planet, solving challenges, healing hurting families, protecting nature, eliminating poverty and generally doing good. God has given us this mandate. Him intervening with miracles is an anomaly, it is not the way He operates as standard. The standard is us being His hands and feet to His people and His earth.
I’m not talking about holding prayer meetings for flood victims either! Who is going to more useful to a Texas flood victim? You posting on Facebook to say, Praying for Texas, or Kevin Hart starting a challenge where he and his celebrity friends begin to pledge up to $25,000 of their own money to the Red Cross??
“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
God, but also the world, are getting tired of religion. Faith that has been turned into dogma and lost its relevance to the world in which it lives is what becomes religion. Faith that stands up to injustice, brings wisdom to complex modern problems and works hard to alleviate the suffering of many is attractive even to those who do not believe and will be the more effective evangelism tool.
If you think you are safe from the mobs because you are not Joel Osteen then you have something else coming to you in the not-to-distant future. The persecution of the Church is not going to come out of nowhere, it will start because people will not see its reason to exist in our day and age. And that will be on us.
PRACTICAL STEPS FORWARD:
- Stop speaking Christianese and start relating to people in their language. It all starts with words and dialogue.
- Begin to turn the prayers, worship songs, bible verses and sermons inside you into projects, companies, initiatives, charities and goods that will help others.
- Reassess the time and resources you spend on “church” activities. If you are involved in religious activities for all your time outside your job and your family, then you are spending it unwisely. Some of that time needs to be turned towards finding your purpose according to God.
- Build a platform for expanding God’s Kingdom and it doesn’t need to be “churchy”. Only about 2% of us are supposed to be five fold ministers working in the Church. The rest of us are called to some sector or the world that exists outside church world.
Now go out there and do like the great prophet Michael Jackson and HEAL THE WORLD.
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FYI: This article and accompanying video first appeared on my Unchurched page on Facebook.