Excellent article published in the Brazilian magazine ‘Christianity Today’ about ideal church. Author: Carlo Carrenho
“The church that want me as a member can not be part of the Christian ghetto. I reached a point where it simply I got tired of the evangelical culture of discriminatory attitudes of believers and the widespread hypocrisy.
For years, I stopped going to church. I reached a point where it simply I got tired of the evangelical culture of discriminatory attitudes of believers and the widespread hypocrisy. I do not remember a specific time of withdrawal, a last straw, so to speak. It was a process and a sum of factors. Today, I continue considering myself a Christian, I believe in God and I have faith in Jesus Christ, but I don’t feel the slightest lack of attending Sunday services. The only thing that bothers me is not to see my children growing up in Christian religious tradition of a church – but my hope is that they learn and absorb the essence of the Christian commandments in my home.
For this column, I decided to ask to myself what would have to change in the church for me come back to attend it. Without being pretentious, I got 10 points:
Return to church
1) Respect for minorities – I really would never attend a church that did not respect all kind of minority and particularly the LGBT community. If my gay friends are not welcome socially to a church, I can’t either be.
2) Respect for other beliefs – Have Catholics, Jews, Muslims or Candomblé practitioners. Does not matter; a true Christian and his church should respect differences, dialogue and live with other religions, including serving with them in non-religious spheres. The same is true in relation to atheists.
3) End of dogmas – Jacques Ellul has said that faith presupposes doubt, otherwise it is not faith, is dogma. I just would come back to a church that is open to discuss and question all your values and rules in the light of the biblical spirit, and without dogmatic attitudes.
4) women’s empowerment – The submission of women to men described in the Bible is an obvious reflection of the historical and social context of Biblical times. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, women can not be pastors or they are treated as second-class members in the churches.
5) Manifestation about policy – I just would come back for a church that would not refrain from criticizing politicians and governments for acts incompatible with the Christian faith, I do not mean the customs, but the issues of human rights and social equality. In particular, I just would be a member of a church that does not shut up about politicians and practicing Christian leaders hate speech, supporters of corruption and other sinful attitudes, as we have often seen these days.
6) social action and human rights – A church that wants me back must have a strong social assistance program and defense of human rights, regardless of proselytizing objectives. Such a church will help the next in the face of your needs, without requiring any spiritual return.
7) Smart Sermons – The Church that I will choose to be part of me one day, will have intelligent and challenging sermons. It is unacceptable that we have to hear shallow and lazy messages in church, far short of what we heard in the university, in the press or at work. The church can not be intellectually inferior to their context.
8) Artistic excellence – If one day I go back to the church, the music played there may not be lower than the song of other amateur bands. The architecture of the temple can not be lower than the average standard of society. I will never accept the Christian mediocrity. If something is done for God, it must be better than what is done outside the church.
9) Ghetto End – The church that want me as a member can not be part of the Christian ghetto. Its members will be active citizens in society, with friends, colleagues and extrarreligiosos relationships. They will not be concerned with dividing the world between Christians and non-Christians, but they will be in this same world, interacting to influence it and change it.
10) Secularity – The church that I would attend would be in favor of secularity. She would understand that who is not a Christian does not have to be forced to live according to the principles of the Bible. She would fight for a better society, and not religious, or more Christian – and also understand that only secularity is a guarantee of long-term religious freedom and it is central to the very freedom of the Church.
This is my ideal church I’m looking for…….”
By Carlo Carrenho
Cristianismo hoje – Magazine
Original post (in portuguese)