"All the world's a stage,And all the men and women merely players;They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts . . ."
(William Shakespeare - The Monologue)
I've spent a lot of energy over the last three years talking about honestly, candor and . . . as our friend Holden Caulfield would say, "phonies." Yes, much of that talk about been about church phonies.
A couple of comments ago, someone referred to my statement that my son made (in regards to the church) that it is a farce. But, while I am often critical of Evangelicalism, I wanted to make the point that it does not have the corner on farceness. That is the same thing I told my son.
So, wherever you go in life, there is the farce factor. We don't have to reach the point of Caulfield and assume that everyone is a complete phony. Actually, I've met plenty of people who are surprisingly candor, not in just what they say, but how they live their life. I've found these people both inside and outside the Church.
So, when people talk about leaving the Church, because of the farce factor, I really don't belief there is a safe, farce-free, place to go.
I had a conversation recently with one of my son's (different son) friends. He said he couldn't believe in Christianity anymore because he didn't think it sounded reasonable. But it wasn't 20 minutes later he was showing someone a new skill-set he had learned, I think it was Tarot cards, or palm reading (can't remember now) where he could tell someone's future. I looked up and asked, "Now are you serious about this?"
"Yes!" he said. "This really works. You really can tell someone's future this way because your Zodiac sign determines who you are and where you are going."
I had to say it. "So, you gave up Christianity because it didn't sound rational . . . for this?"
So, in the same way, I think people leave the church because of its farce factor, only to enter the Caulfield world where all is a farce.
The reason I am not gentle with the Church and its farceness, is that it should know better. If the Christian Church represents the God, who is there, and who created reality . . . then it should be the most honest place in the world. Honest, but not with cruelty. The reason is simple. Each time you lie, you take a giant step backwards from God, because He is the author of realty.
This doesn't mean just bold face lying, but implying that you are something that you are not. It means being transparent with you true faults.
The other reason that I am sometimes harsh with the Church is this very problem of people leaving because of the farce factor. I assume it is the number one reason people leave. It has touched close to home. Most of my kids' generation have walked away. If it had really been the one place in the world where there was complete candor and yet loving (as it claims to be) then you couldn't keep kids away with a stun gun.
I look at our church. It drives me crazy that out of the 20 or so teenagers, who have graduated from high school and moved on in the past 7 years, I think about 3 are going to church anywhere. This is a huge issue. I also get tired of the same ole solutions (at least the ones that come from our church). "We should be harder on them. Once you let them get tattoos then they have one step out the door." Or, "We shouldn't let them go to college." Evidence suggest that those teens who do go to college, even the most secular schools, are a bit more likely to stay in church.
But, as I've said all along, we knew new wineskins. I new way to do church and not just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to find a "safer place."