Last year a group of folks presented an “Eighth Letter” to the Church in North America (the previous seven ‘letters’ are those listed in Revelation to the church in Asia).
In that same vain, David Fitch – author, church planter, pastor, seminary professor – recently wrote a letter to the “Christians in North America.” As I read it, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement – especially with his ending points.
Originally I hopped to post the entire letter here (it is 2,000 words), but then I thought about copyright rules and what not…so I am just going to post the first three paragraphs along with a link to Fitch’s website and hope that you all go over there and read it.
“To All the Christians in North America,
“The North American church is in a credibility crisis. We find ourselves in a culture which no longer sees Christianity to be true, relevant or, for that matter, interesting. Yet we keep doing church the same way as if nothing has changed. We continue to do Sunday morning (and Sunday evening) services, put on Christian rock concerts, do outreach events and hang out in the fellowship hall. We do it all seeking to reach the world with the gospel, but discover that only Christians are showing up. Meanwhile our neighbors and our world go on oblivious to the good news of Jesus Christ. We are looking more and more like a people having a conversation with ourselves that no one else cares about.
“We compete with each other on producing better Sunday morning services. This usually means excellent music, the best video technology or the most charismatic and easy-to-listen-to Bible teacher. Yet we know, by and large, these kinds of services change little in our lives and communities. Few remember anything from the morning sermon. The so-called worship experience with its wonderful music and playful dramas serves to excite us but rarely affects us beyond the moment. Instead the “show” seems to distract us from noticing the ways our lives don’t make sense as followers of Christ. Yet we keep on doing them because it reinforces us in thinking that we are doing something significant.
“The progressives among us do the same thing with justice. We create enormous energy around justice issues in the name of God. Some impressive money is raised and some good works are done in the name of Jesus. But often, too often I suggest, the word “justice” becomes a bumper-sticker-like rallying cry that makes us feel better rather than accomplishing anything that actually takes root in our lives. Sadly we participate very little in actual relationships with the poor that live alongside us in our churches or near our church buildings. It is much like buying fair trade coffee at the Wal-Mart. Nonetheless we keep doing it.”
To finish reading this letter, please go to David Fitch’s website – trust me, it is worth the time.