Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder if, perhaps, we as Americans have gone to far with our freedoms?  Do you ever wonder, when you walk inside a church that looks more like an amusement park than a house of God, if maybe we’ve lost sight of what faith is?

I do.

Do you ever wonder if maybe we’ve made church a little too exciting for our little ones?  Do you ever wonder if maybe they’ll grow into adulthood and not know how to worship unless they’re being entertained?  Do you ever wonder if we’re short changing our kids by not exposing them to the beauty and theology of the hymns?

Do you ever wonder why we feel we need to put on a rock concert in order to make church exciting?

My friend, Joe, recently posted this article on his Facebook page.  I found it both hilarious and fascinating.  And by the end, I was a little sad.  Do you ever wonder if we’ve made church so much like the world that we leave our young people with very little challenge to be separate of the world?

Do you ever wonder if American consumerism has, perhaps, gone just a bit too far?  When you walk inside a church and are immediately faced with a Starbucks, do you wonder if maybe those things should be kept apart?  Do you ever find the blending of the two a little uncomfortable?

Do you ever wonder if maybe the very thing that is our greatest strength in America (freedom) has, perhaps, also become our greatest weakness?  That maybe faith has become a little too easy?  Do you ever wonder what those who sacrifice everything in the name of faith must think when they see that we can sacrifice nothing for the same faith?  Or is it the same faith?

Do ever wonder if we even have the ability to possess the same kind of faith as those who suffer true persecution?

Do you ever wonder if maybe church has become a little too easy – too…comfortable?  Do you ever wonder if you possess strength strong enough to truly make a difference in the world?

Do you ever wonder any of these things?

If you do, what is your response?


  1. I don’t wonder. I know. 🙂

    • I think I do too. Coming from a church that did things well (not perfect, of course) but really well, I haven’t seen these issues in such a glaring light as I do now that we are visiting new places. It’s interesting.

      • I’m afraid that a lot of the stuff I say about churches gets called “judgmental” by people who haven’t experienced churches in the south. It really is different down here.

  2. I wonder what any church has to do with my faith.
    I wonder why it’s important to have a church when Christ didn’t have one.
    I wonder if the main purpose of a church is to acquire money.
    I wonder how it’s possible for real faith to be easy.
    I wonder what IS the greatest thing about America.
    I wonder why church is so difficult for me and yet, so easy for many.
    I wonder if making a difference in the world is as important as making a positive and loving contribution in the world.
    I wonder….

  3. Anonymous says

    Some churches have a Starbucks? Really? That’s kind of blowing my mind. I thought the purpose of church was to go to a place where you could be free of distractions and focus on searching your soul, finding answers and talking to God.

    I have no problems with churches finding ways to reach kids, to help them relate to the bible’s teachings. But it sounds as if people are taking things a bit too far.

    My nephews (who live in rural area, a mile from their grandparents’ farm) were over this weekend and I started thinking about some of this stuff too. While most suburban kids pass the summer watching tv in the air conditioning or going to camps, these kids spend several hours a day helping their grandparents run the family farm. They are 8 & 10. They work in the heat and rain. They have a strong sense of family and duty. They know it’s not all about them, it’s about the family unit and everyone must contribute. We took them to the pool. They were so excited. We took them to eat pizza, play arcade games and thought it was the coolest thing ever.

    My son? Typical middle class suburban kid. He takes it all for granted.

    We often try to make our chidren’s lives easier, more comfortable. But its the struggle that defines us. I wonder if we’re keeping them from developing character. If we’re hindering them more than anything else.

  4. Oh, yeah. That last comment was mine Kelly. 🙂

    Thanks for more food for thought.

    • Such a great point, Lisa! We work so hard to make life fun for our kids and give them “experiences” that we forget to give them a sense of purpose in life. Ugh…parenting is hard! 🙂

      • Sharon Schacher says

        Yes, parenting is hard there is no getting away from that. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to give your kids better things than you had; every generation has done that. I think the key to doing that is to keep a balance. Teaching them responsibility along with the privileges they have is an important balance. They will appreciate things they work for, if they don’t work for it, they will not – not over the long haul.

  5. I sometimes wonder if it takes leaving America to see the miraculous Jesus of the gospels. We don’t have eyes to see him here where things are too easy. Too comfortable. I sometimes wonder why our American churches don’t look like the churches in Acts. It breaks my heart. I want all of Christ I can handle without falling over dead from the glory that would strip me bare. I sometimes wonder where that is…

    • “I want all of Christ I can handle without falling over dead from the glory that would strip me bare.” That is really beautifully said, Becke. Maybe if all of us desired to know Him that well, we would be able to look past our own selfishness a little more. That’s where freedom lies.

  6. Yup. That’s why we were eager to help plant a church in WA and why we sought out a church plant when we moved back to Missouri.

  7. Our church has had coffee and donuts and fruit (and Gus’s pretzels) available for many years. We figured it’s nice to have something to postpone any hunger people may have that cause them not to stick around for Bible Class after (or before) church!

    Recently, we switched our coffe from big cans of industrial Folgers (or whatever they used) to Kaldi provided coffee and equipment. It’s kind of like the copier leases, I think. It’s not a Kaldi STORE though!

    Now, off topic – I think it has become so common to be so blessed in our country that we now EXPECT luxuries to be the new minimum standard. Recently there was statistics on what “poor” is here, and the number of “poor” families with multiple cars, tv’s, cell phones, etc. is staggering. These are LUXURIES, every last item. I’m not saying anything is wrong with having these things, but having the expectation of having them is a long way from being thankful we have them. Those farmers in Kelli’s post have the right idea. My kids take it all for granted, too. THIS IS REALLY BUGGING ME!

    • I have no problem with offering coffee and donuts. Our church in STL did the same thing. But it was OFFERED. It wasn’t a kiosk where people paid for their treats. It was a ministry and I have to say, I admired deeply the people who ran it because they treated it as a ministry. They talked with people and got to know them. They pointed them in the direction of small groups, they introduced them to others within the church. It was a way to further unite the body of Christ.

      What makes me uncomfortable is when the church becomes a marketplace. When people are standing in line to buy coffee right across the aisle from a financial awareness ministry table. I see that and I immediately start humming “One of these things is not like the other.”

      Now, to be fair, I don’t for a second doubt the hearts or desires behind these churches or their leaders. I understand the desire to make church a comfortable and enjoyable place for newcomers and those who are, perhaps, a little wary of religion. But I think there is a danger in conforming too much to the world around. At that point, church isn’t about growth or discipleship or missions, but about what makes us feel good. THAT’S the part that makes me really uncomfortable.

      Great point about luxuries vs. necessities. We often forget how easy we have it, don’t we?

  8. I have so much to say on this topic, it would take a year to type it all out. But it’s one of the reasons why we got rid of tv in our home, why we sold our house and are moving to 12 acres where we will have our own garden and chickens and space for the kids to not be hunkered up indoors, why we have “church ‘in our home with our family and also value church on the weekend (not forsaking the gathering together), why we as parents will personally take our kids on missions trips to see how the rest of the world really lives and to be Jesus’ hands and feet, why our church services don’t have a set time so the Holy Spirit can have his way, why Jim blatantly tells our church and newcomers that we are a battleship not a cruiseship, and why the whole primary focus of our church and staff has been shifting away from being weekend attendance to being prayer/worship based lifestyle no matter where we are.

    We as a culture are over-saturated with the “it’s all about me” mentality and it will take real work and intentional living to turn the tide in our country. Unfortunately most times it takes people hitting rock bottom in many ways to make changes to their life–something I see our country headed toward. I pray that we can positioned to hear and heed the voice of the Lord in the trial and fire!

    • Wow. Jess, that’s awesome and exciting! I would love to hear more about how you’re reorganizing priorities and life!

    • I LOVE the comment “church is not a cruise ship”! I too have much to say on all of this, but would rather do it over a cup of coffee! 🙂

  9. If this is a line of thought you are really interested in pursuing you should read “The Forgotten Ways” by Alan Hirsh. Amazing book that gives wonderful insights into what the church could be.

    Be careful though. =) You are on the edge of a rabbit hole. These same questions began the journey that led Wendy and I to leave professional ministry with a small team and try to rediscover what it means to be the church together. It’s been an amazing journey…but not an easy one.

    • I’ve been following your journey, Jeff. It has been amazing. I didn’t appreciate what you were learning until now, though…

      • Here is something that helped me in this line of questioning:

        My initial response was anger, frustration, and rejection. I started labeling things “right” and “wrong.” It’s not that the way we do church is “wrong” or that the people that led us here are “bad leaders.” This conversation isn’t about “right vs. wrong.” What happened was that a few leaders with incredible hearts to seen people connect with Jesus tried something and a crowd gathered. So they did it again and more people came to hear the Gospel. Lives were/are being changed. So we kept pressing the button that brought the crowd. In fact, we fell in love with pressing that button.

        The people who founded the button and courageously pressed it,the ones who paved the way of the “attractional model” should be admired for their passion and respected for their leadership.

        But the world has changed and we have worn that button out. Now we press on that attractional button so hard we do crazy things like give our entry way over to Star Bucks in hopes that the lost guy down the street will come and buy his latte in our foyer and hear the rocking music, come into the worship, and be saved. I love the heart…but that’s not John-chapter-6-Jesus. That’s not the “Come and die so you can live” way.

        So the problem is we are addicted to pressing the button and we are afraid to stop pressing it because when we stop pressing it the crowd disappears.

        Last night I had eight people in my house. We all live as missionaries in our communities. We are obsessed with imitating Jesus’ love. We all refuse to press the button. And our time together was amazing. Different. But awesome.

        Question everything. With curious innocence ask “why do we do that?” You’ll find fairly quickly what is worth keeping and what buttons need to not be pressed. The problem then becomes finding people who are with you.

        I’m praying for you and Lee. If you ever need a sounding board don’t hesitate to call Wendy and I for chat. = )

  10. Wonderfully insightful…….all of this…….a “holy discontent” feeling is stirring inside me….

  11. Everyone should read this sot, by Jeff. It’s really good!


  1. […] morning I read a blog post from a friend that’s got me all fired up.  So I figured I would jump on one of those issues […]

  2. […] of faith must think when they see that we can sacrifice nothing for the same faith?  Kelli over at Minivans are Hot […]