The Matrix movies, as a concept, were some of the most interesting interpretations of the future that I have seen. The idea that (spoiler alert) humans could be utilized as power supplies for a machine army was innovative to say the least.
When humans were “plugged in” to the system, their energy was used to drive the actions of the machines. The machines, however morbidly, sustained the lives of their human “coppertops.”
Is it possible he can pull a church-related illustration out of this? Oh, yes.
Christians are the fuel that drives the Church and her mission on earth. Every church has an identity. A DNA. A culture. When a Christian chooses to partner with a church – attend, give, serve – a believer is associated with that culture.
Thus, when you tell someone that you attend Such-and-Such Church of Greater Whatsitville, that implies a set of parameters (the culture) is true about you. A benefit of this is that inviting someone else to church becomes a personal investment. It’s almost as if you are saying, “Come to church with me so I can share this part of myself with you.” (I am not implying that we should invite people to church as an act of social- or self-promotion. Just an illustration.)
But what if the church turns?
What if the church where you have invested your time is no more?
What if it no longer makes much of Jesus?
In our consumeristic culture, there is a preference toward instant gratification. But in reality, God does not necessarily want His people to be finicky in their choice of church. He isn’t interested in our impatience, intolerance, preference of style of substance, or “what’s in it for me” mentality.
So, when IS it OK to leave? (Incidentally, NOT the best question to ask.)
I have often heard it said that the greatest clue as to when to stop attending a church is when God stops attending.
I’m not saying that God does not call people out of churches. But it’s convenient to believe that our motives are always God-driven when, in my observation, God’s purposes are oftentimes an afterthought in these situations. Church hopping is self-serving unproductive to the Body of Christ.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.