Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Bride of Christ Acting Like a Whore??!


On Christmas Eve Hank and Gloria came to the morning service, which we didn't have. I was there just in case someone showed up. They had been away on their Honeymoon cruise. While I walked them through our meditative experience we called the Stations of the Manger, Hank and I talked with David.

David is one of Salem's unique characters. He calls himself an evangelist, but he does some strange things. On that morning he wandered through Salem with a sign around his neck. It said "I am the Anti-Christ." He does these things to watch the response on people's faces, and begin conversations.

Sometime in the midst of our discussion Hank said, "The Bride of Christ has been acting like a whore."

I said, "Hank, you are going to end up on my blog." So, Hank - here you are.

Then on Christmas I read Webb's post on Missional Christmas Carolling. Webb's story made me cry. You have got to read it. If you do not read Webb's blog strange protesting Welshmen dressed as women will invade your home.

Webb has some great comments on this very topic, and I told him I would be sending you to read his story. If you like his story, please leave a comment and let him know.

The above picture is from what may be the greatest silent movie of all time - "Metropolis." If you have not seen it you must. It is filled with Biblical imagery, and this is the depiction of the Whore of Babylon.

How does the Bride of Christ behave like a whore? Webb had his thoughts, and I agreed. I wonder how many examples there are in the church today, and I wonder how many may fit me at times.

Perhaps you saw the replay of Anderson Cooper's CNN report last night, "What is a Christian? and where do you fit in?" Examples in that report fit Webb's description of the whoring church.

How does the Bride behave like a whore? Got any thoughts? Any disagreements? Rebukes? Milk Duds to share?

14 comments:

Cindy Harvey said...

This might sound kinda yucky, but at the time I was leaving our church, I was dealing with some heavy-duty bitterness due to being a worship leader and seeing first-hand the politics and butt-kissing that went on continually unchecked.

I remember telling my hubby that I felt I'd been prostituting my gifting to the church in a 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' kind of way. The worship community were considered 'The Golden Children' of the church, each being groomed for public display. To my regret, I found out how easy it is to place one's hopes and dreams into the hands of broken leaders who refuse to own their brokenness. Even as the reality of what I was doing became clear to me, I stayed on with hope that I'd get to make that music CD, become the next great female worshipleader, write amazing lyrics...blah, blah, blah. These things were encouraged, but not for the sake of the Kingdom, but for the sake of the local church.

By the time I got out, after trying to lovingly call a spade a spade, I felt horrible about my illicit affair with my church. I allowed my real dreams and gifts to get twisted into selfishness and desparate idolatry at the outstretched hand of a church who'd lost it's mission to do anything except make a name for itself and its pastor.

The so-called 'gifted' within the church are always at risk of prostituting themselves to the church....perhaps artists/musicians are most vulnerable as we all seek affirmation for our creativity. Unfortunately, I haven't got my head screwed back on straight about all this, and the guitar sits in a corner of the basement collecting friendly Charlottes who spin the most glorious webs for me..."some pig".

Pastor Phil said...

Wow Cindy,

Thanks for being so open with this story. This is an unbelievable example, and unfortunately one which is sanctified by the church, because worship is supposed to be our purpose.

I'm sure that guitar will make it out to see the light of day again. Perhaps in some strange setting like a bar, or a stage in Salem, Massachusetts during Halloween - one of those places Christians refuse to go, and where people really need us. Perhaps in house church where we receive no glory, but give ourselves freely.

Shiloh Guy said...

Cindy, your example is brilliant! You'll be ok because God will heal your heart. Phil is right. God gave you a gift to use and he will also show you when and where to use it!

The church was made to love only one person, the Groom. She is to love him, trust him, be led by him, and wait for him. But, like Gomer, she has gone out trying to promote herself. She has adopted the ways of the world without first redeeming them. She has sought her own joy and pleasure in numbers, material things, and the praise of men. She has made herself look like the world to seduce customers. She has watered down the truth to avoid frightening away potential lovers who would build her numbers and her fame. When she loves, she loves herself and not the ones her Groom would want her to love.

Dave Moorhead

Shiloh Guy said...

Phil,

I miss the ale bottle on this post! I thought maybe you might make it your regular logo! Like the guys on the Guinness commercials say, it was "brilliant!"

Dave

Pastor Phil said...

The bottle will return! You have not seen the last of it.

Webb Kline said...

Cindy, unfortunately you are not alone. I've seen this kind of thing a lot. There are a lot of other places where God can use that talent though. Check out my friend Woody Wolfe's site hearttohandministries.com. Woody can show you an outlet for your talent where you will soon forget all about the worship leader business. No whoring you talents either--your looking square into the eyes of Jesus every time you sing to those kids.

Phil, the Welsh thing backfired. I got home tonight and their were effeminate looking welshmen all over my front lawn. The had erected a stand and were selling milk duds.

You've got to stop confusing those Welshmen dude. Better brush up on your Welsh or something....;-)

...or give them some more of that ale...

Webb

Pastor Phil said...

Effeminate looking Welshmen?! I think not! They were Englishmen disguised as rugby players in dresses.

You'll be very afraid when the Welsh (or the Scottish) "Daughters of Rebecca" come protesting and tearing down your toll gates.

They'll bring their own ale, and probably pass it around after they cause a ruckus. Iechyd da!

Webb Kline said...

Since I am a direct descendant of Mary Queen of Scots, should I fear?

Pastor Phil said...

Since she troubled the English Queen Elizabeth, you might be safe.

Webb Kline said...

I think that probably the church's invention of the whole Christian pop-subculture has been her most common bedfellow of recent years.

When I look at most youth groups, I see them glued together by contemporary Christian music, Christian rock stars, t-shirts, concerts and endless paraphernalia. Remove these things and there is little left to hold them to the church in adulthood. In effect, we are whoring our sons and daughters, and then wonder why Jesus suddenly seems irrelevant to them when they become adults.

It's a subject we seldom look at, but it is a problem and much of it stems from our own fixation with all the youth programs that are marketed which are used instead of true discipleship. I suppose if our own lust is for external materialism, we shouldn't expect any more.

Cindy Harvey said...

Webb, Thanks for the link. Looks awesome! I have twice played music for kids in the last year at a little bookstore in my hometown and loved the experience. I also used to play for laboring moms (how weird is that???!) Once I set up a blanket at the park where my kids played and after fiddling with the guitar for abit, I had a crowd of kids and parents surrounding me....kids LOVE music!

Thanks for the encouragement! It's hard to be proud when you're singing for/with kiddos....

Pastor Phil said...

Webb,

Great post on selling, and buying our youth. You are right about how we lose them following the end of their youth.

Shiloh Guy said...

Phil and Webb. What is that, a British comedy team?

Phil, I'm a latecomer to your British debates. I take it you are Welsh and Webb is English?

Moorhead is Scots.

What I want to know is the rules. Do we get to tease each other mercilessly or do we have to maintain a modicum of proper English etiquette? I would hate to be offensive on someone else's blog!

Pastor Phil said...

Dave,

Lay off the sheep jokes, and make sure to buy a round, and everything will be okay.

I am actually a California boy (oh, you know that), but am of Welsh ancestry, and I've spent quite a bit of time in Wales. I fully identify with the Welsh speaking population, and their humorous disdain of all things English. Yet my English friends have been quite a blessing I must admit - reluctantly.

The Scots are cool, but we'll kick your skirted butts in Rugby any day.