Honestly, this is a rhetorical question. But it does make me wonder what it will take for people to wake up and realize they’re not following Jesus anymore.
Those who call themselves “Christian” today have forgotten that the word means “Christ-like.” So, they don’t stop to wonder why they’re following leaders who ignore Jesus, or why they believe things that Jesus contradicted, or why they reject the people Jesus embraced [you know, the poor, the outcast, the immigrants, the sick, etc.]
Simply put, if those who call themselves “Christlike” [Christians] would actually start to act like Jesus, maybe we could begin the delicate process of “unscrewing the Church.”
How would we do this? Well, one simple way might be to return to the Gospels [you know, those 4 books in the New Testament almost no preacher ever turns to unless it’s Christmas, Good Friday or Easter]. Start reading the Sermon on the Mount. [Those are the red letters you’ll find if you start at the beginning of Matthew, Mark or Luke]. Act as if Jesus were talking directly to you. Take what he says seriously. Try to love your neighbor as yourself [even if they’re not Christians, or if they’re gay, or lesbian, or trans, or Muslim, or anything else]. Take is advice to heart when he says stuff like “If you only love those who love you in return, what credit is that to you?” and “Seek first the Kingdom of God” and “Why do you call me ‘Lord, lord’ if you don’t do the things I say?”
That’s a start.
Maybe try to daily “die to yourself” – which Jesus specifically said we should do – and by that he meant to consider the pattern of living revealed through the life of Jesus rather than the default pattern of living we all tend to follow.
Maybe try to “treat others as you want them to treat you”, and by that he meant to think about the blessings you wish you could receive and start blessing people around you like that.
Or maybe try to “love one another as [Jesus] loved you”, and that by that he meant to stop and think about all the marvelous ways Jesus has loved you [make a list if you can] and then to start loving others in the very same way.
I know. Pretty radical stuff.
These simple steps could change your life. They could change the way you go through your day. They might even start to change your attitude, your community, your network of relationships, in profound ways.
So, the question, “How many Christians does it take to unscrew the Church?” might be a rhetorical one, but maybe the answer isn’t. Maybe it only takes a handful of people living a radically inclusive Gospel to incarnate the spirit of Christ in your zip code.
Maybe the potential for transformation is greater than we realize.
Maybe the revolution we’re waiting for is simply waiting for us.
Maybe the way we change the world is to step into the path Jesus marked out for us a long time ago.
Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of several best-selling books, including “Jesus Unexpected: Ending The End Times To Become The Second Coming” which is available now on Amazon.