Life Church is much better than most of the churches with which I’ve associated in the past, but it’s still a Western church.
I’ve been attending the local campus of Life Church a few weeks now. This week began a series on “Because of You” and all the wonderful things they’ve done with the money and labor resources people have contributed. I must applaud the emphasis on pay-as-you-go building programs, the emphasis on people instead of programs, etc. I wish I could see more of this, and if you have time, I would encourage you to watch the video of the first message. It’s hard to argue with success.
I cannot deny the hand of God is supporting this, if only because it’s the best game in town. God isn’t that picky when it comes to this sort of thing. The closer you get to His ethics and morals, the better things work in the long run. I can’t pretend to know whether any of this is just good showmanship and how much is the real deal, but for now, it’s nice to be standing near it.
They are overlapping between Western Christianity and the Network Civilization. They are on the borderlands of what will someday be the world as we know it. I know of no other religious organization forging into this area. They are giving away all the software they develop, including the package which runs their online church. They give away their smartphone Bible application for free. They understand the necessity of this sort of thing, which is why it will prosper far into the future.
Still, too many of their organizational assumptions are rooted in the West. The one major flaw is blending the spiritual and organizational functions in the same leadership. The New Testament presumes dividing the spheres, so that their is a priestly function, and a ruling function, in some ways kept away from each other. That division is based on something fundamental to the nature of faith in God going back into ancient times, and it was prominent in the First Century churches. It’s also something built into human nature itself. In the long, this will create major headaches for them.
For now, they have zero interest in what I’m doing, and it’s wholly unlikely they will use me or any of my teaching. What that means is I have found a place where I can build some level of fellowship and human association necessary for survival in this broken world, but my real work for God will be outside that or any other church organization.
I am hardly surprised by this. What I believe and teach is admittedly too radical for most of the world. That was hardly the aim. I have been struggling mightily to understand things as they are, or as they were meant to be. I knew that was going to isolate me as soon as I realized the foundation included rejecting Western Civilization. It’s not as if I turned around one day and discovered I was out on the fringe of human thought; I knowingly followed a path which brought me here. I didn’t know where “here” would be in advance, but I knew where it wasn’t.
Despite a calling very much biblical in nature, I won’t be working within the church much as it now exists. I’m at peace with that, largely because there is no other alternative. I’ll follow along in worship and support them as much as their work coincides with mine, but I have a mission which isn’t theirs, and isn’t ever likely to be theirs.