The Church Is a Whore, and She Is My Mother

Augustine said it.

Every generation is prone to certain superlative assumptions about itself. We are always…

the most enlightened, most advanced, most creative, most civilized…

AND/OR

the most wicked, most degenerate, dumbest, laziest, voted-most-likely-to-usher-in-the-end-of-the-world generation in history.

So naturally it surprises us when we look back and see the same attitude in history. Is it possible that a 5th-century Bishop, prior even to the Dark Ages, could be as jaded against the church as our own breed of postmodern critics?

But yes, Augustine said it. “The Church is a whore, and she is my mother.”

Last night at the Front Porch, I slipped into one of those conversations. Somebody mentioned the alleged $50,000 that a particular church happened to have spent on speakers for the youth center. Not a speaker system… not human speakers, just speaker cabinets. And one of our more idealogical Wednesday night regulars became, shall we say, livid.

“How… hm… HOW MANY LIVES DO YOU THINK COULD BE SAVED BY $50,000!?!”

Whether the statistic was correct or not was beside the point. The fact is that we Christians are famous for finding ways to collect large amounts of money, and spend it on something that many others deem utterly irrelevant.

I wonder what the underground Christians in China or Indonesia or the Sudan might think. These churches seem to be growing spiritually and numerically, under far-less-than-ideal conditions. Of course, it would not be original of me to point out the way Christianity tends to thrive under oppression.

Last night my wife and I were wondering out loud if American Christianity was headed in that direction. “Sometimes, in a very weird way,” I said, “I actually long for that.”

“You do???” She exclaimed.

“Well… sort of. I mean, it’s a hard thing to say. But it’s as if someone is out to destroy us either way. If we’re being oppressed, others are destroying us physically. If we’re being validated by society at large, we inevitably start destroying ourselves spiritually. Only, in the first instance we are drawing closer to God in our adversity, and in the latter, we’re wandering away from him.”

“I never thought of it that way,” She said. “I think that’s true.”

In my other conversation, with the Front Porch idealogue, I seconded many of his concerns about the way we Christians use and abuse the gifts of God. But I also tried to convince him to give even the most suspect church the benefit of the doubt. The fact is, we don’t always (and actually we hardly ever) fully understand the underlying motives, and the heart behind the decisions that are being made in other churches.

“I actually know people in that church who really have an earnest heart after God,” I said.

“But do you know someone in leadership?” the idealogue demanded.

“As a matter of fact, I do.” He gasped. You might think he was being over-dramatic. I might think you’d be right.

“Or was, anyway,” I continued. “He was in leadership. If you’re right about this church, and that it needs change so badly, I believe he would have been one of the people there longing to bring it about. But he’s not there anymore. Maybe he gave up. I haven’t talked to him about it.”

“Well… yes… maybe,” he stammered.

There is so much to hate about what they’ve become. What we’ve become. Reminiscent of Rahab, or Gomer, or Israel at large, we have been unfaithful. We’ve forgotten our first love, and chased after everything else that moves, looking for what we’ve already found, but lost. The Church has become, by definition, a whore. With a long and proud tradition of corruption and, well… pride.

But she is ours. She is us. She is the true body of Christ that stands by his power and grace despite so many stumblings.

She is our mother.

40 thoughts on “The Church Is a Whore, and She Is My Mother

  1. RyanI am sure I am not “getting” just what you are saying so I am only responding from what I can understand, not what you are intending to communicate in this post.How do you define the church described in the statement: “The Church has become, by definition, a whore. With a long and proud tradition of corruption and, well… pride. But she is ours. She is us. She is the true body of Christ that stands by his power and grace despite so many stumblings.” Is there not a vast divide between the organized corporate entities called churches and the living stones Christ Jesus himself is building together? Would you conclude this group of searching souls being knitted together by the very Spirit himself is a whore? Babylon is called the whore in the scriptures. Would you then say we are all Babylon? If this is true, I think I’ll just stay home, drink espresso, and eat creme brulee while relaxing over War and Peace. Why bother with all the agonizing in prayer for the discerning of the body, the rightly joining together of those called to prepare for the coming Bridegroom? If we are all one and the same with the whore, why do we desire a true relationship with Him, with one another? Because of the great love our Father has for us, I believe He offers us a relationship built on love and faithfulness. As individuals we choose our personal walk, “Choose you this day who you will serve”, and as His people we can choose to walk in authentic relationship with each other as his body, his church, his bride. We do fail at times, but when our heart is toward Him, I do not think we are one and the same with the whore. The church is not my mother, but my God is my Father. The true church must be my brothers and sisters who are called according to His purposes.

  2. RyanI am sure I am not “getting” just what you are saying so I am only responding from what I can understand, not what you are intending to communicate in this post.How do you define the church described in the statement: “The Church has become, by definition, a whore. With a long and proud tradition of corruption and, well… pride. But she is ours. She is us. She is the true body of Christ that stands by his power and grace despite so many stumblings.” Is there not a vast divide between the organized corporate entities called churches and the living stones Christ Jesus himself is building together? Would you conclude this group of searching souls being knitted together by the very Spirit himself is a whore? Babylon is called the whore in the scriptures. Would you then say we are all Babylon? If this is true, I think I’ll just stay home, drink espresso, and eat creme brulee while relaxing over War and Peace. Why bother with all the agonizing in prayer for the discerning of the body, the rightly joining together of those called to prepare for the coming Bridegroom? If we are all one and the same with the whore, why do we desire a true relationship with Him, with one another? Because of the great love our Father has for us, I believe He offers us a relationship built on love and faithfulness. As individuals we choose our personal walk, “Choose you this day who you will serve”, and as His people we can choose to walk in authentic relationship with each other as his body, his church, his bride. We do fail at times, but when our heart is toward Him, I do not think we are one and the same with the whore. The church is not my mother, but my God is my Father. The true church must be my brothers and sisters who are called according to His purposes.

  3. Very well put, Angela.I think we, as the church, are not a whore in our permanent essence. We do stumble into this identity, however, in our weakness.And I do not believe the Church is our mother in the same way God is our Father. I think Augustine was simply comparing the Church that gave spiritual birth to him to the relationship one might have with a mother who is a prostitute.But just like Rahab the prostitute was miraculously transformed, and eventually honored in the lineage of Christ, there is no reason to feel hopeless whatsoever.

  4. Very well put, Angela.I think we, as the church, are not a whore in our permanent essence. We do stumble into this identity, however, in our weakness.And I do not believe the Church is our mother in the same way God is our Father. I think Augustine was simply comparing the Church that gave spiritual birth to him to the relationship one might have with a mother who is a prostitute.But just like Rahab the prostitute was miraculously transformed, and eventually honored in the lineage of Christ, there is no reason to feel hopeless whatsoever.

  5. You nailed it, Ryan. Straight up.Angela, if you’re still ‘listening’, your love for Christ and for His bride are abundantly evident. There’s so much I’d like to say in response to your comments, but I feel that a few words will really suffice. I want to challenge you to take a deep breath and consider a fresh perspective—that’s really not new at all, but ancient, as Ryan demonstrated via Augustine—on the Gospel. The Gospel is not simply that God loves us and enables us to love Him. What makes the Christian gospel what it is is the fact that He loves us (individually and corporately, as churches and the Church) <>despite<> our prostitution to the world. In fact, this is by no means unique to the Church, much less to particular churches. It’s been true of the people of God literally throughout history. It’s the Story of Scripture. God invites a people into a relationship with Himself, provides for them, rescues them from oppression, and they turn on Him, whoring themselves out to other ‘gods’, time and time again. Then He woos them back, time and time again, usually after allowing them to realize the destructiveness of their abandonment of Him. The book of Hosea paints a vivid picture of the whoredom of God’s people and God’s radical redemptive grace. It’s scandalous. But then again, the cross is scandalous.A point of clarification would be helpful, I think. Far be it from us (the Church) to wear the label “Whore” with a badge of honor, or to even come to accept it as ‘just the way we are’. This realization is supposed to (and will, if we are God’s children) break our hearts and bring us to our knees. Acknowledging our whoredom (and not, of course, merely “theirs”) is the first step in repentance. No, it’s not our identity. But our identity as God’s Beloved is all the more confounding and beautiful and out-of-this-world when we come around to the fact that we don’t deserve—by an infinitely long long shot—that glorious privilege.Blessings,Matt

  6. You nailed it, Ryan. Straight up.Angela, if you’re still ‘listening’, your love for Christ and for His bride are abundantly evident. There’s so much I’d like to say in response to your comments, but I feel that a few words will really suffice. I want to challenge you to take a deep breath and consider a fresh perspective—that’s really not new at all, but ancient, as Ryan demonstrated via Augustine—on the Gospel. The Gospel is not simply that God loves us and enables us to love Him. What makes the Christian gospel what it is is the fact that He loves us (individually and corporately, as churches and the Church) <>despite<> our prostitution to the world. In fact, this is by no means unique to the Church, much less to particular churches. It’s been true of the people of God literally throughout history. It’s the Story of Scripture. God invites a people into a relationship with Himself, provides for them, rescues them from oppression, and they turn on Him, whoring themselves out to other ‘gods’, time and time again. Then He woos them back, time and time again, usually after allowing them to realize the destructiveness of their abandonment of Him. The book of Hosea paints a vivid picture of the whoredom of God’s people and God’s radical redemptive grace. It’s scandalous. But then again, the cross is scandalous.A point of clarification would be helpful, I think. Far be it from us (the Church) to wear the label “Whore” with a badge of honor, or to even come to accept it as ‘just the way we are’. This realization is supposed to (and will, if we are God’s children) break our hearts and bring us to our knees. Acknowledging our whoredom (and not, of course, merely “theirs”) is the first step in repentance. No, it’s not our identity. But our identity as God’s Beloved is all the more confounding and beautiful and out-of-this-world when we come around to the fact that we don’t deserve—by an infinitely long long shot—that glorious privilege.Blessings,Matt

  7. Where was this church that allegedly spent $50,000 on its speaker system?JRA?Second Baptist?Somewhere other than Springfield?Who knows but maybe that speaker system could be used to reach some of our youth that love their music loud and bass-heavy, I dunno.

  8. Where was this church that allegedly spent $50,000 on its speaker system?JRA?Second Baptist?Somewhere other than Springfield?Who knows but maybe that speaker system could be used to reach some of our youth that love their music loud and bass-heavy, I dunno.

  9. I’m not going to share the name of the church.But remember, the allegation is that $50,000 was just for the speakers themselves. Who knows how much the rest of the system cost?And it sounds to me like you’re being sarcastic at the end of your comment. But it’s hard to tell for sure.

  10. I’m not going to share the name of the church.But remember, the allegation is that $50,000 was just for the speakers themselves. Who knows how much the rest of the system cost?And it sounds to me like you’re being sarcastic at the end of your comment. But it’s hard to tell for sure.

  11. No sarcasm at all. Complete seriousness. There is a question I like to ask.What difference does it make?I think the $50,000 speakers are a mute point. If a church has enough money to spend on speakers, maybe they also have an equal amount of spiritual insight to use them as a tool to spread the Gospel and invite others in as well to play music through them that glorifies Christ. They could host concerts that easily recoup the cost of the speakers, etc.I’d like to believe that if a church has $50,000 to spend, it has to be doing something right to draw the people in who donate that money in their tithes and offerings.What difference does it make?Get what I’m driving at? And all that is even if the “allegations” about such unnamed church are true. Nothing irks me more than gossip and rumors within the body of Christ.Instead of getting mad about some money (which the Bible tells us will eventually fade away anyway), why don’t we bless God and pray for that church body to be blessed by what the money has purchased, to be a light to the community?Once again, what difference does it make?Far be it from us to criticize another church body for the superficial things. Let’s be real and ask this:Are they preaching Christ as the only way to salvation?Is their salvation message bringing souls to Christ?Are they discipling new believers?Are they reaching beyond the four walls of the church without condemnation to their local community and beyond?Do they stand on God’s Word as solid truth, and preach that truth instead of postmodern relativism?If you can answer all those questions with a solid yes, then what difference does it make?

  12. No sarcasm at all. Complete seriousness. There is a question I like to ask.What difference does it make?I think the $50,000 speakers are a mute point. If a church has enough money to spend on speakers, maybe they also have an equal amount of spiritual insight to use them as a tool to spread the Gospel and invite others in as well to play music through them that glorifies Christ. They could host concerts that easily recoup the cost of the speakers, etc.I’d like to believe that if a church has $50,000 to spend, it has to be doing something right to draw the people in who donate that money in their tithes and offerings.What difference does it make?Get what I’m driving at? And all that is even if the “allegations” about such unnamed church are true. Nothing irks me more than gossip and rumors within the body of Christ.Instead of getting mad about some money (which the Bible tells us will eventually fade away anyway), why don’t we bless God and pray for that church body to be blessed by what the money has purchased, to be a light to the community?Once again, what difference does it make?Far be it from us to criticize another church body for the superficial things. Let’s be real and ask this:Are they preaching Christ as the only way to salvation?Is their salvation message bringing souls to Christ?Are they discipling new believers?Are they reaching beyond the four walls of the church without condemnation to their local community and beyond?Do they stand on God’s Word as solid truth, and preach that truth instead of postmodern relativism?If you can answer all those questions with a solid yes, then what difference does it make?

  13. I don’t see what the big deal is on this. If God blesses a church with this kind of sound system then perhaps He has a big plan in place for them. A big sound system does not mean that church is a whore.If anything, I would say it’s overwhelming pride to declare a church has to be doing something wrong if they dropped $50K on speakers without knowing anything about the inside operation of that church. Who puts you in a place to judge them without knowing anything about what they felt led to do by the Holy Spirit?

  14. I don’t see what the big deal is on this. If God blesses a church with this kind of sound system then perhaps He has a big plan in place for them. A big sound system does not mean that church is a whore.If anything, I would say it’s overwhelming pride to declare a church has to be doing something wrong if they dropped $50K on speakers without knowing anything about the inside operation of that church. Who puts you in a place to judge them without knowing anything about what they felt led to do by the Holy Spirit?

  15. Well put, everybody. Thanks for chiming in.I worried a little bit about this after I hit “publish”. The fact is, I would never judge another church body for being a “whore” simply for spending a large amount on anything that can easily be used for Kingdom work. This particular example of the speakers happened to be the topic of a conversation that bothered another Christian very deeply. There are much better examples of our failings as Christians than this, ones that we can all bring to mind without any help from me.Nevertheless, the question of whether the purchase was a wise use of money is still quite relevant, in my opinion. I think that, just because a church has that kind of money to spend, we cannot assume that it is because they’re “doing something right”. Also, just because they can use the speakers for the Kingdom doesn’t necessarily justify the cost. If a man needs a daily ride to work, and I had the money, I could schedule him a limo. I may have used the limo to help the poor, but it would have been much wiser to get him a cab, or buy him a cheap car, or best of all, to give him a ride myself.Whether or not the question of “whoredom” fairly comes into the debate, I still believe we must be very cautious about the temptation to “gold-plate” our ministry efforts, when the opportunity arises. And it occasionally does.

  16. Well put, everybody. Thanks for chiming in.I worried a little bit about this after I hit “publish”. The fact is, I would never judge another church body for being a “whore” simply for spending a large amount on anything that can easily be used for Kingdom work. This particular example of the speakers happened to be the topic of a conversation that bothered another Christian very deeply. There are much better examples of our failings as Christians than this, ones that we can all bring to mind without any help from me.Nevertheless, the question of whether the purchase was a wise use of money is still quite relevant, in my opinion. I think that, just because a church has that kind of money to spend, we cannot assume that it is because they’re “doing something right”. Also, just because they can use the speakers for the Kingdom doesn’t necessarily justify the cost. If a man needs a daily ride to work, and I had the money, I could schedule him a limo. I may have used the limo to help the poor, but it would have been much wiser to get him a cab, or buy him a cheap car, or best of all, to give him a ride myself.Whether or not the question of “whoredom” fairly comes into the debate, I still believe we must be very cautious about the temptation to “gold-plate” our ministry efforts, when the opportunity arises. And it occasionally does.

  17. “I think that, just because a church has that kind of money to spend, we cannot assume that it is because they’re “doing something right”.”I agree…but conversely it doesn’t mean they’re “doing something wrong” either. :)

  18. “I think that, just because a church has that kind of money to spend, we cannot assume that it is because they’re “doing something right”.”I agree…but conversely it doesn’t mean they’re “doing something wrong” either. :)

  19. I would be worried about hitting Publish on an article that discussed a piece of gossip about another church without any credibility, as well.I’m not saying I don’t agree with the general gist of your post as well as your most recent response, but a better reference could have been used…like maybe the PTL club or televangelism or something like that.I do feel you need to be held accountable for publishing gossip about another body part in Christ’s body though, Ryan.

  20. I would be worried about hitting Publish on an article that discussed a piece of gossip about another church without any credibility, as well.I’m not saying I don’t agree with the general gist of your post as well as your most recent response, but a better reference could have been used…like maybe the PTL club or televangelism or something like that.I do feel you need to be held accountable for publishing gossip about another body part in Christ’s body though, Ryan.

  21. It’s not gossip if you’re not talking about someone in particular. Any number of Springfield churches could have purchased the speakers. If we laid every 1000+ member church’s budget out on the table, we’d all gasp at how much money they funnel towards various ends.This particular topic of “rich Christians (and churches) in an age of hunger” is no small one… and it’s no simple one, or else it’d be solved and we’d all have our marching orders. The same dilemma arises with regard to our personal financial decisions… Do we buy the Ford Focus or the Honda Civic? Or the RSX? Or the Lexus? Or the Porsche? Or the Maserati? Or… you get the point. Some place we have to draw the line and say, “This person used his/her finances too selfishly and did not consider the NEEDS of others, and they will be judged for it.” By God, that is. You’ve got individuals who buy multi-million dollar mansions (at least here in Chicago) and justify themselves saying, “We’re using this as a ministry, to be hospitable to others, in the name of Christ.” What do you do with that, especially when they follow through and make their home essentially into a free retreat center that is constantly used by pastors, ministry leaders, and church groups? Then someone else might say, “Why don’t you spend that money on a huge ‘house’ in an impoverished area and serve the homeless with it?”I think we all know the answer if we step back a moment and use our common sense. If we’re ignoring the needs of those less fortunate than us, we’re disobeying the clear commands of Christ. That’s an easy call. Churches who do not participate in “social justice” yet lavish “ministry tools” on themselves are in rebellion towards Christ. But churches who are committed to reaching their “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth” will spend their time and resources in all of those areas, each of which has its own unique needs, some of which may cost more or less.We do have an obligation to hold other believers and churches and ministries accountable. While we have no right to judge the motives of others, we have a mandate to judge <>actions<> and to hold our brothers and sisters in Christ accountable for those actions. And when we do, we must look at the whole picture: Does this church participate in social justice? Do they do enough? Is this church boldly and constantly verbalizing the Good News of the death and life of Jesus? Are they conducting themselves with integrity? When we lack access to the answers to these questions, then we have no right to judge even actions.

  22. It’s not gossip if you’re not talking about someone in particular. Any number of Springfield churches could have purchased the speakers. If we laid every 1000+ member church’s budget out on the table, we’d all gasp at how much money they funnel towards various ends.This particular topic of “rich Christians (and churches) in an age of hunger” is no small one… and it’s no simple one, or else it’d be solved and we’d all have our marching orders. The same dilemma arises with regard to our personal financial decisions… Do we buy the Ford Focus or the Honda Civic? Or the RSX? Or the Lexus? Or the Porsche? Or the Maserati? Or… you get the point. Some place we have to draw the line and say, “This person used his/her finances too selfishly and did not consider the NEEDS of others, and they will be judged for it.” By God, that is. You’ve got individuals who buy multi-million dollar mansions (at least here in Chicago) and justify themselves saying, “We’re using this as a ministry, to be hospitable to others, in the name of Christ.” What do you do with that, especially when they follow through and make their home essentially into a free retreat center that is constantly used by pastors, ministry leaders, and church groups? Then someone else might say, “Why don’t you spend that money on a huge ‘house’ in an impoverished area and serve the homeless with it?”I think we all know the answer if we step back a moment and use our common sense. If we’re ignoring the needs of those less fortunate than us, we’re disobeying the clear commands of Christ. That’s an easy call. Churches who do not participate in “social justice” yet lavish “ministry tools” on themselves are in rebellion towards Christ. But churches who are committed to reaching their “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth” will spend their time and resources in all of those areas, each of which has its own unique needs, some of which may cost more or less.We do have an obligation to hold other believers and churches and ministries accountable. While we have no right to judge the motives of others, we have a mandate to judge <>actions<> and to hold our brothers and sisters in Christ accountable for those actions. And when we do, we must look at the whole picture: Does this church participate in social justice? Do they do enough? Is this church boldly and constantly verbalizing the Good News of the death and life of Jesus? Are they conducting themselves with integrity? When we lack access to the answers to these questions, then we have no right to judge even actions.

  23. I have struggled recently with how much I should spend on “myself.” However, I don’t think the greed in the church is limited to the big churches. I hear some ask of those in high income brackets, “Do you really need that to live on, worship with, drive to work in,…etc… ? Think of what it could do for someone else?” Those are great questions. I would say that a church should try to scrimp as much as possible (which most of them have to) in order to provide ministry to whatever nieghborhood, community, or group they are trying to reach. But how far do you go? Those in even the lowest income brackets in this country still have a better life than any previous generation in the history of our world. Poverty level in this country (around 15,000 a year for a single person) is living the high life compared to most of the rest of the world. The amount of money that is used to buy a Chili’s dinner could also provide for a family in India for several weeks. Just some thoughts. The answer probably lies in what Ryan said: “We’ve forgotten our first love, and chased after everything else that moves, looking for what we’ve already found, but lost.” Great post, by the way. I heard Billy Graham say he talked to some dictator who said that he found that Christianity thrived under persecution. This dicator thought it might be a great idea to let them become comfortable. He figured that would be the best way to weaken the church.

  24. I have struggled recently with how much I should spend on “myself.” However, I don’t think the greed in the church is limited to the big churches. I hear some ask of those in high income brackets, “Do you really need that to live on, worship with, drive to work in,…etc… ? Think of what it could do for someone else?” Those are great questions. I would say that a church should try to scrimp as much as possible (which most of them have to) in order to provide ministry to whatever nieghborhood, community, or group they are trying to reach. But how far do you go? Those in even the lowest income brackets in this country still have a better life than any previous generation in the history of our world. Poverty level in this country (around 15,000 a year for a single person) is living the high life compared to most of the rest of the world. The amount of money that is used to buy a Chili’s dinner could also provide for a family in India for several weeks. Just some thoughts. The answer probably lies in what Ryan said: “We’ve forgotten our first love, and chased after everything else that moves, looking for what we’ve already found, but lost.” Great post, by the way. I heard Billy Graham say he talked to some dictator who said that he found that Christianity thrived under persecution. This dicator thought it might be a great idea to let them become comfortable. He figured that would be the best way to weaken the church.

  25. Ryan, this post has gotten me onto something else. This morning my mom took one of the family dogs, Abby, to the vet. Abby was excited because she figured she was going on a walk. The other dog, Teddy, was left in the kitchen. Teddy kept whining and barking. She wanted to go where Abby went. My mom ended up calling me and asking me to bring teddy as well because she was due for shots. As I put the leash on her she got extremely excited. She was getting to go where Abby went!!! Once we got in the car she was even more excited because she was probably imagining the dog park. However, once I turned off to go to the vet, she began to shake. She had gotten what she wanted and she realized it wasn’t what she wanted. This isn’t a perfect analogy because the whole vet experience is very beneficial for the dogs in the long run. However, isn’t that how we are with those around us. We want the house, car, boat, lifestyle, that the other guy has. But once we get it we realize it isn’t really what we want. I remember a Christian DJ remarking, sometime during the 90s, how it seemed that young people at the time were more on fire for God than they were when he was a teen. I think that one reason for this was because they had to choose between walking the walk and being popular. In the fifties, a lot of the right stuff was popular. I remember having to choose between being in the popular crowd in junior high, high school and college or being an outspoken Christian. We may look back and laugh at the whole Christian t-shirt phase but it was something else to be able to walk through your school without hiding your faith. Maybe someone would be inspired by the boldness or their life might be changed by the message found on the tshirt. What does this have to do with your post? It made me think of materialism. It seems like the church, in general, or atleast in large numbers, has had to choose between God and something else throughout points in atleast America’s history. We have conquered such things as racism (to some degree), popularity and we even seem to be moving away from putting too much hope in Christian politics. But will we do the same for materialism? Has Satan found the one thing we can settle into comfortably? Now I don’t sit around and look at my rich friends and think of how much they should be giving all their stuff to the church, or the poor, or some missionary or whatever. I just had a friend who saw his income and material possesions increase in a dramatic way. I was happy for him. It can be a good thing. I shared that I am not always even sure about what to do with material things in my life. I think it is about choice. Many chose God over popularity in the eightees and ninetees. Probably everyone who comments on this site has had to choose God over something else. Will we choose God over popularity, our friends, status, sex, relationships, money, material things? It doesn’t nessesarily mean we give something up. I definitely can’t say its about someone doing something specific like giving away a certain amount of money. I see people give away lots of money and they sometimes seem to be doing it out of shame/guilt or to win God’s love. It is a heart issue (that may or may not have outward implications). But will the American church choose God over materialism? Will they conquer materialims like they have some other things in the past? They might not. I like to believe they will. After they look at what God did for them in the past when they chose Him over other stuff they will want to choose Him over materialism. If we don’t then God knows how to handle this. The whole economic turmoil we are in MAY (I can’t speak for God, however) be a blessing in disguiese. Will we choose Him over__________? I asked God what it means to be a living sacrifice the other day. I think this is the answer.

  26. Ryan, this post has gotten me onto something else. This morning my mom took one of the family dogs, Abby, to the vet. Abby was excited because she figured she was going on a walk. The other dog, Teddy, was left in the kitchen. Teddy kept whining and barking. She wanted to go where Abby went. My mom ended up calling me and asking me to bring teddy as well because she was due for shots. As I put the leash on her she got extremely excited. She was getting to go where Abby went!!! Once we got in the car she was even more excited because she was probably imagining the dog park. However, once I turned off to go to the vet, she began to shake. She had gotten what she wanted and she realized it wasn’t what she wanted. This isn’t a perfect analogy because the whole vet experience is very beneficial for the dogs in the long run. However, isn’t that how we are with those around us. We want the house, car, boat, lifestyle, that the other guy has. But once we get it we realize it isn’t really what we want. I remember a Christian DJ remarking, sometime during the 90s, how it seemed that young people at the time were more on fire for God than they were when he was a teen. I think that one reason for this was because they had to choose between walking the walk and being popular. In the fifties, a lot of the right stuff was popular. I remember having to choose between being in the popular crowd in junior high, high school and college or being an outspoken Christian. We may look back and laugh at the whole Christian t-shirt phase but it was something else to be able to walk through your school without hiding your faith. Maybe someone would be inspired by the boldness or their life might be changed by the message found on the tshirt. What does this have to do with your post? It made me think of materialism. It seems like the church, in general, or atleast in large numbers, has had to choose between God and something else throughout points in atleast America’s history. We have conquered such things as racism (to some degree), popularity and we even seem to be moving away from putting too much hope in Christian politics. But will we do the same for materialism? Has Satan found the one thing we can settle into comfortably? Now I don’t sit around and look at my rich friends and think of how much they should be giving all their stuff to the church, or the poor, or some missionary or whatever. I just had a friend who saw his income and material possesions increase in a dramatic way. I was happy for him. It can be a good thing. I shared that I am not always even sure about what to do with material things in my life. I think it is about choice. Many chose God over popularity in the eightees and ninetees. Probably everyone who comments on this site has had to choose God over something else. Will we choose God over popularity, our friends, status, sex, relationships, money, material things? It doesn’t nessesarily mean we give something up. I definitely can’t say its about someone doing something specific like giving away a certain amount of money. I see people give away lots of money and they sometimes seem to be doing it out of shame/guilt or to win God’s love. It is a heart issue (that may or may not have outward implications). But will the American church choose God over materialism? Will they conquer materialims like they have some other things in the past? They might not. I like to believe they will. After they look at what God did for them in the past when they chose Him over other stuff they will want to choose Him over materialism. If we don’t then God knows how to handle this. The whole economic turmoil we are in MAY (I can’t speak for God, however) be a blessing in disguiese. Will we choose Him over__________? I asked God what it means to be a living sacrifice the other day. I think this is the answer.

  27. of course the church cant be some diehard giver to only the needy and themselves and expect to have a tomorrow. Change is the best manager. The fact that whores change alot is some a little disturbing but yep. Some times change could me supporting the needs of the givers.Even though it may seem strange to people who arent involved. So the true question is not does the tree make a noise when it falls, way back in the woods out of sight and sound only latter to be seen if not burnt buy some fire, but what kind of sound did it make. the choices a church makes sometimes are bad and cause the demise of organization. So sometimes holding tight to what you have is might sometimes be a good thing but change will inevedably and most importantly happen. from my shoes the it could have sounded like kirr plunk auurierr from hitting some squirel off a neighboring tree and spaushing a armidilla. out of time peace out and love you in the lord hope I spelled well enough and said what I ment to say because I don’t have time.

  28. of course the church cant be some diehard giver to only the needy and themselves and expect to have a tomorrow. Change is the best manager. The fact that whores change alot is some a little disturbing but yep. Some times change could me supporting the needs of the givers.Even though it may seem strange to people who arent involved. So the true question is not does the tree make a noise when it falls, way back in the woods out of sight and sound only latter to be seen if not burnt buy some fire, but what kind of sound did it make. the choices a church makes sometimes are bad and cause the demise of organization. So sometimes holding tight to what you have is might sometimes be a good thing but change will inevedably and most importantly happen. from my shoes the it could have sounded like kirr plunk auurierr from hitting some squirel off a neighboring tree and spaushing a armidilla. out of time peace out and love you in the lord hope I spelled well enough and said what I ment to say because I don’t have time.

  29. St. Augustine of Hippo did not say this. There is no record of him, or Luther, ever saying this, and by continually quoting this statement in utter ignorance, we believers promote a serious falsehood. The Church of Jesus Christ is holy, pure, blameless and beautiful in God’s eyes. Self flagellation is not Christianity. Finding our identity in Jesus does not require us to hate ourselves. Be serious about sin and the corruption it causes? Yes! But continue this self aggrandizement? No!And beyond all of that, plain and simple, St. Augustine of Hippo, who founded Western Evangelical Christianity and first laid forth the doctrines of the Trinity and Orthodox Christianity, NEVER AT ANY POINT IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE SAID THIS!!!

  30. Fair enough. Let’s forget about St. Augustine for a second. Let’s look at the words of Christ spoken to the Church…“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” (Rev 2:4)or “Nevertheless, I hold this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” (Rev 2:20)or “I know your deeds, you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” (Rev 3:1b)or “I know our deeds, that you are neither cold nor not. I wish you were either one or the other!” (Rev 3:14)Or the words of Paul… “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” (1 Cor 3:3)or “I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another–and this in front of unbelievers!” (1 Cor 6:5-6)or “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good… for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk.” (1 Cor 11:17,21)If I falsely attributed a quote to Augustine, then I am sorry. As far as I could tell it was accurate. But I do not apologize for my central point, and I am confident that a certain amount of gracious accountability (especially when it includes oneself, as my post did) is consistent with the spirit of the Apostles, and even that of Jesus.

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