Christian Groupthink

Christian Groupthink December 5, 2023


Will we ever get on the same page when it comes to Christianity? I don’t think so, but I don’t find that to be a problem. You can hold a view of eschatology through a dispensationalist lens or a full-preterist, I really could give two-shits! I wouldn’t agree with either, but I don’t think this is what being a participant in the Way of Christ is all about.  By their fruits, right? Not by their beliefs.

That said, I do see issues with theological perspectives or beliefs when they become doctrine statements for the collective Jesus-Community. WHAT WE BELIEVE…ah man, nothing like being part of a community that thrives on groupthink. When this happens, you can say goodbye to individual creativity and responsibility.

Now, I get that having some type of formation and spiritual practice is good when coming together as a collective to EXPERIENCE the Divine as a whole. What I am referring to is when we need doctrine statements in order to have everyone on the same page when it comes to beliefs. Again, we ALL are going to have a different perspective when it comes to the Christian tradition.

Thou Shalt Not Question

What is groupthink like in a “church” setting? It’s like entering a theological Thunderdome where doubts are condemned faster than you can say, “Hallelujah.” Sure, blind faith has its merits, but when questioning is equated with heresy, we might be treading on thin theological ice.

Now, I’m not saying we should turn the church into a theological debate club, but a healthy dose of curiosity can be the holy grail of personal growth. After all, even Jesus himself entertained questions from his disciples, and they weren’t exactly handing out theology degrees in the sandpit. I mean, majority of Jesus’ teachings were parables, which in turn produce questions, so why are we so against this within a communal space?

The Holier-Than-Thou Handbook

Ever felt like you needed a PhD in holiness just to fit in at church? Well, you’re not alone. The Holier-Than-Thou Handbook is often a well-thumbed favorite in some religious circles, outlining the do’s and don’ts of divine behavior with a generous side of judgment. Suddenly, we’re all walking on theological eggshells, afraid to admit we binge-watched Netflix instead of reading Leviticus.

When theology becomes a tool for exclusivity, we risk turning the church into an elite club of the spiritually superior. And let’s be real – Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners, not the holier-than-thou Pharisees. Maybe it’s time to revisit the handbook and add a chapter on humility, with a sprinkle of grace on top.

The Choir of Conformity

Have you ever been to a church where everyone looks like they just stepped out of a Christian catalog? Matching smiles, matching outfits, and matching “amens.” It’s like a Broadway production of “Conformity: The Musical,” where individuality takes a backseat to the perfectly synchronized choreography of groupthink.

While there’s nothing wrong with finding common ground, turning the church into a breeding ground for clones can stifle personal growth. The beauty of humanity lies in our diversity, and the same should apply to our spiritual journeys. It’s time to break free from the choir of conformity and embrace the cacophony of authentic voices, each with its own unique pitch and tone.

We must learn that being a community of conformity will never produce healthy people who are available to love our neighbors and enemies. It will just be people with plastic smiles and creepy end-of-the-year pledge drives.

Heaven’s Got a Sense of Humor

Look, getting swept up in the groupthink dustpan can happen to all of us and probably will occasionally, in our journey through the Ecclesia circus. It’s all good! Lets give ourselves grace and grow in the wisdom of Christ.

I also do believe that wisdom comes with an outlook of sincerity and not so much seriousness.  Let’s not take ourselves too seriously in the divine drama of church dynamics. A healthy dose of laughter, a pinch of humility, and a sprinkle of curiosity might just be the holy trinity we need to break free from the shackles of unhealthy groupthink. After all, if God created humor, then surely, a God-undamn chuckle or two won’t hurt the sanctity of your soul.

In the end, let’s strive for a church where theology is a guiding light, not a blinding force, and where individuality is celebrated alongside the communal spirit. Amen, hallelujah, and may the comedic force be with you on your spiritual journey!

For more on this topic, check out my recently published book, Christianity Cracking Up, available on Amazon!

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