Is the Church Too Much Like a Crack House?
If you’re at all familiar with Peter Rollins’ work, you know that he is one of the church’s more provocative writers and thinkers. Author of How (Not) to Speak of God and Insurrection: To Believe Is Human To Doubt, Divine, Pete is particularly gifted at shocking us into looking at our lives and the gospel – and especially our lives in light of the gospel! – in a new way.
In this video from the great folks at Work of the People, Pete says the church reminds him a little too much of a crack house. That is, people take drugs to escape their pain – they’ve ended a relationship, didn’t get the job they wanted, lost a loved one, whatever, and they take drugs to escape that pain and feel happy. And they do…for a little while, and then plummet downward again. And so they have to do it again. Too often, Pete says, church is like that – you sing songs, praise God, you feel just great…for a little while, and then you spiral downward and have to do it again.
Instead of being like a drug den, the church, Pete suggests, should be like one of those great song-writers who always finds a way to put his or her finger on your pain, to name your brokenness, and in naming it to join you in it and help you come through it.
It’s a provocative image, to be sure, but also, I think, a compelling vision of a church that refuses to do anything other than tell the truth – the truth about our brokenness (a truth we know deep down and can only stop fleeing once someone names it) and the truth about God’s gracious and loving response to that brokenness.
One of the things I most like about Peter’s short interview on this video is his insistence that church shouldn’t be about creating more dependence on the church; rather, it should be about helping us see God everywhere. Can you imagine?
So watch the video when you have a couple of minutes. Pass it around. And let me know if you also think the church is a little too much like a crack house, and share what great ideas you have to make it more like the nightclub where you can count on hearing songs that break your heart…and restore your soul.