The Church Is Not A Business, Jeffery Walton – @TheIRD



In the wake of Atlanta-based pastor Louis Giglio’s decision to back out of praying during President Obama’s 2nd inaugural – due to backlash he received based upon an anti-gay sermon he preached in the 90’s – The Institute on Religion & Democracy has made sure to display it’s righteous indignation.

I’m not writing to comment on that.  There’s plenty of blogging being done about that.

Jeffery Walton typed-up a pretty catty article in response.  The purpose was to make facetious suggestions as to who should replace Pastor Giglio during the ceremony.  With the last line of his post, he basically says his goal was to goad the usual suspects into wild and reactive angry comments.

Do your donors know this is how you spend your time?

Anyway, the reason I am writing on this article is because of one throw away line in it.  However, it is a tactic the IRD uses regularly.  While talking about lists of names of replacements for Pastor Giglio that have been compiled, Jeffery says:

The lists, mostly featuring liberal clergy from rapidly declining Oldline denominations, seem to miss the point

If you missed just exactly what I am talking about, you could be forgiven.  It is a tactic that nearly all conservatives use to bash their liberal colleagues over the head.  Those churches and denominations which orient themselves in the liberal tent are failing institutions, because they have been in decline for such a ling time.

As I said, this isn’t an isolated incident.  The IRD, and those like the IRD, find this one fact to be very useful in debates and discourse.  It is true – though, not universally; and not as universally as they would like to believe – but there is a problem with relying on that thinking so frequently.

The church, with very few exceptions, is not a business.  You don’t run a church or church-related group for a profit – though, this isn’t universally true.  If you are constantly concerned with how many “decisions” you get or how many butts are in the pews, you are almost certainly going to create a shallow community of faith.

IRD president Mark Tooley, recently published an article stating how thankful he was for Christmas commercialization.  Rather than stating concern that our culture has taught itself that it is a-okay to put yourself into debt so millions of Chinese workers can make a “living,” he is spouting off about how the commercialization of the Christmas is something to be celebrated.

As if his god were the invisible hand of the free market.

The IRD, and many others within the Christian faith, have mistaken the distinctly American civil religion of capitalism as something to which the church should aspire.

The problem with my argument is that they have the numbers to make it appear as if their’s is the way to go.

All I can do is continue to be faithful to how I feel God calling me to serve and to live.

I guess I just wish their argument came down to more than “mine’s bigger than yours!”

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