“Losing my religion” is an R.E.M song, part of which goes, “That’s me in the corner,
That’s me in the spotlight, Losing my religion.”
It popped into my head after reading Marty Sampson, a songwriter for Hillsong United who recently announced he is losing his faith.
I wanted to deconstruct Marty Sampson because he hit on a couple of truths in a really tidy way. Here’s what he said in part,
“This is a soapbox moment so here I go… how many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it. “
No one talks about it. Well, that’s not quite true. I am one of many, many people who talk about it 24/7. Two things I believe the church at large needs to talk about is, its dirty laundry. Its unmentionables. The imperfections and flaws of preachers and all these alleged “Bible contradictions.” The church must be open and willing to talk about people’s questions. We should never have a church that can’t handle questions, because that is just a lack of knowledge about our own faith, a lack of confidence, and often a system based on fear, insecurity, and control.
We also need to address people’s questions about this alleged “four billion people” who are going to hell. This is a huge emotional, psychological, and spiritual conundrum that must be discussed, addressed, spoken about. Whether intentional or not, we often give a really poor representation of the Good News and wind up portraying God as a cosmic bully who just so happens to hate all the same people we do.
Second, we need to talk about all the miracles! The goodness of God! Our testimony! The bible says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
No one talks about it. That is the number one problem I see all over the place, no one talks about it. Once this pastor spoke of how he had gotten angry with God, yelled and had a fit. Unknown to him, there were three other people in the room that day who had gotten angry with God themselves and were now convinced that God hated them. They had lost their faith, they thought that God hated them for getting angry. In an instant they were healed by that pastor’s words, in an instant everything changed because someone was brave enough to, talk about it.
We need to be willing to “talk about it.”
This all relates to his last sentence, “…Christianity just seems to me like another religion.” There’s been a big push in the culture for a number of years now that tries to suggest all things are equal. All things are the same. You can just pick your own designer religion and god or gods of your choice, and it’s all good, we’ll respect that.
Also, a real problem is Christianity as a brand. Hillsong is a brand. Josh Harris was a brand. Mars Hill was a brand. People tend to get all tangled up in worshipping the culture around a brand, and not an authentic faith.
“…Christianity just seems like another religion” because we have allowed it to be portrayed that way. Because we are afraid of not being politically correct. Because we don’t want to offend anyone. We have a whole church here where I live that has actually taken Jesus out of everything to do with Jesus, because the name “Jesus” offends some people.
On the bright side, Marty Sampson has a whole lot of people praying for him, he’s since deleted his post, and he is apparently now listening to apologetics, people like Ravi Zacharias. The Bible says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find….”
But it sure does make me a bit crazy and set my eyebrow twitching to know this guy has now spent nearly 40 years in church and still can’t answer his own questions…….