"The fact that your dog has fleas, is no reason to open your home to a wolf!"
('The Broken Eye' Brent Weeks)
Yes, you are right, the church has fleas!
We are a community filled with broken and sometimes very strange and frustrating people. It has always been that way. If you were to take a quick perusal through the book of 1 Corinthians you will quickly realize that the first century church had some real problems. Paul even calls some of them infants, and one of the reasons he wrote the book is so they would learn how to grow up!
But he never once considered quitting on them. Paul would not even consider for a moment talking to people outside the church so he could mock, criticize, and gossip about his own people. His mantra was always, "Love the Brethren first." Peter says to "love each other deeply from the heart." And Peter and Paul both understood that real love included warts, fleas and all.
What are the church's fleas?
Well, there are many: Church people often dress funny - - in truth, we usually are 15 years behind the current fashion trends. Many of us are fond of listening to Lawrence Welkish type music on Sunday. We tend to be overly critical of each other. We would rather watch "Little House on the Prairie" than the newest Sit-com on TV. We have pot-lucks with weird casseroles and super-cheesy and carbo-rich mac-n-cheese meals. We have grandparents that take naps on Sunday afternoons. We tend to get angry when it comes to politics, and we more often than not are set in our ways and hard to move.
But when it comes to our general nature, like a golden retriever, we are naturally kind and have great dispositions. We show up to people's funerals. We make meals for the sick. We give a lot of money to help the poor and missionaries on Sunday. We don't sleep around. We don't always fall for commercialization or try to keep up on trends so people will like us (think square glasses). We more often than not tell the truth because we love the truth. We fear God, we love our families, and we really want Jesus to win.
When you grow up in the church, you are quick to notice the fleas and take for granted the blessings. And sadly, after awhile, you can get tired of scratching and picking out the fleas of those around you. This reality of life creates a problem, because people who find themselves tired of scratching are quick to let in the wolf!!!! Let me restate this - - when you are hyper critical of the normal human foibles around you, you tend to see those outside of your group with rose colored glasses. And when you start doing that, your defenses go down and you let people and ideas into your life that can eventually destroy you.
Take for instance the flea hating and wolf loving poster child: Rob Bell. Just listen to his recent statements on Oprah's "Soul Sunday":
“I think culture is already there (embracing homosexuality) and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone,”
Rob is a man who got his start as a Christian pastor that was known for rightly pointing out the fleas in the church. He opened the windows to a lot of stuffy Grand Rapids Christians; and through his creative teaching style he helped people in the church breathe and experience the fresh air of true grace. But somewhere along the line, instead of showing mercy to his own and looking past the fleas, he grew tired of them and he started loving the wolf more.
And where he stands now, the wolf is his family and the flea-bitten dog that once had his allegiance is now despised. To say that the church is becoming "irrelevant" is like saying grandma just needs to die. Wow, the people who first sang his praises are now treated like chopped liver.
What is worse is how he is willing to destroy the Word of God for his own success. If it wasn't for that 2,000 year old document we wouldn't even know who Jesus was, we wouldn't understand what the church's purpose is on earth, or we wouldn't be able to see when we were being devoured by a world that hates you and your God. Oprah is a wolf, face it - - she loves to deny and destroy the singular particularity and beauty of Jesus. She likes her jesus (yes I didn't capitalize it), but hates the real Jesus.
Jesus of the bible demands for our pride to die and his name to be the only name exalted. Oprah will never do that - - she loves herself too much. And so Rob, in his own prideful selfish way, is willing to throw the church in the gutter so Oprah will be his friend. And she is one powerful friend because she has the lost world's ear, which means she will continue to promote his idiotic Zim Zum garbage!
The irony in his statement is that he is willing to embrace the "flesh-and-blood" people who are pro homosexuality, but castigate and call irrelevant the people who just so happen to believe in letters that were written 2,000 years ago. Doesn't he realize church people are made of flesh and blood too?
The problem with our society is three-fold: (1) We no longer know how to recognize wolves. (2) We forget that everyone has fleas (3) When you throw away the Bible you have nothing, and I mean nothing to stand on. Might becomes right, coolness becomes the standard of truth, and you quit on the very people who first loved you!
I really miss having Rob Bell on our side, he is such a talented guy. And now he is owned by a wolf. Sad...really sad.