From Todd Wilken:
A person is losing his memory, he no longer able to think clearly as he once did, and no longer behaves the way he once did.
His doctor would diagnose that person with Dementia. According to the textbooks, dementia involves a loss of memory, and of patterns of thought and activity.
What if it isn’t a person, but a church?
A church that doesn’t remember its past. A church that has lost the ability to think the way it once thought. A church that no longer acts the way it once acted.
Loss of memory, patterns of thought and activity. When these symptoms occur in a person, it is considered tragic. But when these symptoms occur in a church, it is often considered progress.
But shouldn’t the diagnosis be the same for a church as it is for a person?
From Jonathan Fisk:
No matter who she is, she is never able to live up to the image he believes she must be, not because she is a failure or unlovely, but because he is addicted to women who don’t exist….
Just as pornography feeds young men and women falsely perfected images of impossibly idealized sexuality until they cannot find contentment in any real relationship, so also trying to compel God’s blessings into the Church through “IfWeCanJust” theology preaches a falsely perfected vision of an impossibly idealized “Church” until no congregation can live up to its expectations…
we treat our congregations the way young women are being trained to treat themselves. We try to squeeze our “Church” into a tighter dress, thinking this might better turn the eyes of visitors who glance our way. We put fake eyelashes on her… lipstick a brighter red… “You need to lower her bodice even more,”… “That is what the young men are looking for…” (pp. 170, 171)
Back to dementia:
Forget that two thousand years of Christians were comforted in her arms, calling her Mother. Forget that she has always been imperfect because she has always been made up of sinners. Forget that her true beauty has always been the hidden faith of a gentle and quiet spirit, steadfast in comfort, graceful in blemishes, wise in age, and in God’s sight very precious. Forget all that…. (p. 172)
Today, expecting her to be a trophy wife..the only thing we’ve gained is a spirituality that excels in training Christians to worship their covetousness…
What we once found beautiful we now call average, at best. What once could make the blood race now stifles and bores… (p. 172)
But not to the child….