I just read this article from Art of Manliness website about being part of an organization. And found it to coincide with a few thoughts that have crossed my mind. I think the thought first started about 10 years ago when I gave a presentation at my grandparents grange on a trip I took to London England with HACC.
I began to realize that people like to belong to a group. And if you don’t belong to a church you long to belong to a group and make connections. Steve King from the Church People of Lancaster talked at a chapel at FMH two years ago and said
If you don’t have something to pour your energy into you dry up spiritually
Enter the Art of Manliness article Revisiting The Organization Man, an article that takes much of its fodder from a 1950’s book written by William H Whyte. Men in contemporary society prefer to remain aloof and apathetic, criticizing these organizations from the outside. I propose this applies not just to men, but how we act in the greater Lancaster area towards the churches we grow/grew up in.
Whyte was not entirely opposed to organizations or even conformity per se. He argued for “individualism within organization life.” “The fault is not in organization,” he said, but “in our worship of it.”
Herein lies a point true about churches. Part of the failure of church life may very well have to do with the worship of it. But, before you misinterpret what I am saying, read on. We can’t just quit and leave, because that doesn’t work either. Consider the next bit…
Organizations get things done. You may feel satisfied with yourself sitting at home, reading blogs, and posting rants about the state of the world on Facebook, but you?re not really changing anything.
Fill in churches for organizations and I wholeheartedly agree, at least churches can get things done if there is not a selfish spat going on every time you turn around. What are you doing? What are you getting done?
Organizations focus your energies. A lot of men today say that they?re not religious, but they are “spiritual.” But if you ask them what they doing to foster their spirituality, the answer is often “nothing.”
Again a remind you of the Steve King qoute I gave you a few lines above.
Organizations motivate you. How many times do you sit at home thinking about all the good intentions and goals you have for your life and then fail to act on them? Isolating yourself is a surefire way to drift through life.
With the responsibilities of a church belonging comes an accounting that is excellent spiritual for healthiness.
Organizations force you to rub shoulders people unlike yourself.
Churches force you to rub shoulder with people like and unlike yourself, why are you afraid of that?
Organizations need good men. Many men stay away from joining organizations because they are disillusioned with them. They stand on the outside and criticize perceived corruption or hypocrisy. Yet this turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. When good men drop out of these organizations or refuse to join them, the criticism only becomes truer.
This weekend as I studied for teaching the SS lesson from Acts 6. A note in my Life Application Bible for verse 1 drives a point home:
All churches have problems. If your church’s shortcomings distress you, ask yourself: “Would a perfect church allow me to be a member? Then do what you can to make your church better. A church does not have to be perfect to be faithfull.
There was something I read from Francis Shaeffer that went something like this, if you leave your church because you have three things wrong with it, you will identify three things wrong in the church you go to… ad infinitum