Church in America is a Power and Money Structure: or Cultural, not Biblical

We've been back in America and failing at church for almost five years now. For a long time it was my job to sit in in another country and ask the local church leaders to question what they believed. "Is this thing you believe actually Biblical? Or just cultural?"

A specific instance that sticks out in my head was a situation where we were talking about leadership in a church as described in the Timothys. Asking folks about what made a great leader they gave us a big long list on a whiteboard, one of the items on the list was "Can outdrink everyone else"... like... a leader needed to be able to consume a ridiculous amount of alcohol. I remember stopping and asking a whole room of church leaders, "Wait, do you really believe this?"

And there was a resounding, "yes."

In every culture there are definitely things we believe about Christianity that have nothing to do with Jesus or the Bible, they just have to do with our history and cultural beliefs.

Increasingly, it's looking like the evangelical church in America believes church is a Sunday morning event that takes place in a specific location. It's definitely not a broader body of believers. And God forbid two different traditions have patience and love for one another. It's also increasingly obvious those Sunday morning events are money and power structures. They seem to exist to keep white men in power.

I've lost all patience for it.

It's a financial structure without a business model. We've tweaked the Bible to say that tithing is a thing that goes to keep pastors employed and on full time staff so they can put on a good show on Sunday mornings. Cool. Cultural, but not biblical.

It's a power structure designed to keep women out (and therefore oppressed), denying people of color any place of standing unless they act an awful lot like a white person—but God-forbid they should take time off of ministry in their local congregation and go to Ferguson when shit goes down there.

It's a performance built to entertain people and, if executed perfectly, lead to a huge number of people attending, which has the nice benefit of book deals and fame. Fame is nice. The better the performance, the more likely that fame is. Cultural, not biblical.

American Christianity has leaned so far in favor of white male power that huge portions of the country can decide that man who grabs women inappropriately and brags about it is the most "Biblical president our country will ever have". A man that talks down to women, people who aren't rich, people of color, and hates people of other religions because they're different is the leader of this country.

Our "christianity" is so disconnected from the Bible, "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men."

Cursing is saying "fuck", but standing on the street and yelling at people that God hates them and will damn them to hell because they're different or have some kind of special sin is considered preaching, not cursing. Cultural (fucked up, but cultural) not biblical.

Shunning an unmarried pregnant woman, or a gay person from Church is considered the good Christian thing to do. As though Jesus didn't keep company with prostitutes and the marginalized. Cultural, not biblical.

Our church and our religion in America is so far removed from the model given to us in the word of God, I suggest you might just have to leave Sunday morning services to find church.