Ray Rooney, Jr.: Bleed and Lead
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 10:01 AM

I keep trying to figure out why the Church is not more involved in the culture war taking place in our nation today.  I mean, it’s not like the issues have little to do with religion.  Homosexual activism is rampant and in your face (the politics of gay marriage, educational curriculum foisted on school children all the way down to the kindergarten level, the boy scouts, etc.)  Suppression of religious speech is routine against anyone in the public school arena from sea to shining sea (valedictorians getting their mikes muted the moment they mention any facet of their Christian faith and cheerleaders being sued for putting Bible verses on banners).  Lately we have been hearing about intolerance of Christian views and literature against those who are serving in the armed forces (from telling soldiers not to read books by certain conservative authors to forbidding chaplains from praying in Jesus’ name).  Abortion, Obamacare, immigration…all these and many more issues which clearly have religious connotations are being battled out in the public realm with little or no help from the Church.  Conservative, patriotic, and family groups are defending the faith sometimes with the help of influential Christians but rarely with the blessings or backing of any denominational hierarchy.

The only thing I can come up with as a plausible reason for the apparent lack of ecclesial participation in the culture war is that the Church has repeatedly demonstrated throughout history an unwillingness to deal with sin even when it is found exclusively within the community of faith much less the secular world beyond. 

Start with the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus Christ as recorded by all four Gospel writers in the New Testament.  Who knows how long usury, graft, and bribery were going on within the walls of the Temple?  When Jesus visually and vocally demonstrated that sin in God’s house was not acceptable “they began planning how to kill him” (Mark 11:18).  The Roman Catholic Church was not to fond of Martin Luther for exposing the immorality of indulgences and the Anglican Church wasn’t happy with the Wesley brothers for the infusion of new life they brought exposing a corrupt and callous denomination.

Reformers always bring indictment along with revitalization which is what makes them so unpopular.  People are embarrassed and offended that some lone wolf hasn’t acclimated to the way things are like everyone else.  When the people of God refuse to deal with (or even acknowledge) their own sin they lose their moral authority to speak to culture and society and consequently remain safely silent on explosive cultural issues.  Pedophile priests, pastors in homosexual relationships, and heretical bishops have all been exposed by and to the public often with little, if any, consequence for their sins.  The clergy killer phenomenon is running rampant within every denomination and nothing is done to put a stop to it.  Political shenanigans are routinely practiced from the denominational headquarters all the way down to the local church without shame or remorse.  And no one is cleansing the Temple.  For two reasons.  First, it seems unbecoming of religious leaders to point out sin in the Church (“let’s just focus on the positive”).  Second, not many who see sin and hypocrisy within the household of faith have the courage to face the consequences for speaking out and turning over the tables.  Remember, that’s when the religious leaders decided Jesus needed to die.

The culture war needs the Church’s involvement and voice.  Not just influential evangelists or pastors of large (mega) congregations.  The voice of the Bride of Christ needs to be heard today.  How much more nonsense in culture is the Church going to remain silent on?  How much more sin in the Temple are believers going to accommodate? 

When the Apostle John saw what Jesus did in the Temple he said a statement from the Psalms immediately came to mind.  “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up…” (Psalm 69:9).  Where is that kind of passion for the things of God today?  When the Church accepts sin in its Temple it becomes irrelevant as a voice in culture and society.  It’s time to demand holiness from our religious leaders.  It’s time to turn some tables over and do some shouting.  It’s time to insist that those who have accepted the mantle of religious leadership in the Church to wipe that “Aw Shucks” grin off their faces and either lead or leave.  

Redemption is a painful and dirty business.  It’s time that we demand that leaders of the Christian Church start earning their six figure salaries, their high and mighty titles, and the veneration that is heaped upon them.  Stand for righteousness!  Stand up and say as a leader of the Church that you oppose sin and be willing to name the sin!  If you are not willing to bleed then you are not worthy to lead.

Ray Rooney, Jr.