In many an old West town, there sat one house of ill repute, one place where the menfolk could go to satisfy those insatiable urges we men just cannot seem to get under control. The brothel. The chicken shack. The whore house. And though that language may seem harsh, it is exactly what we have turned the church into through our programs (you know, singles “ministry” and the like) but even more so, through our theology.
A brothel is a place where—when the price is right—love is feigned for a time, but run out of currency and the love expires. Much like Las Vegas, you’re only as valuable as the wad in your wallet. In the same respect, we have done a great disservice to the one we call “Father” by assuming His default stance towards us is one of “wait and see”. Put in the right currency (be it the “sinner’s prayer” or some other contrived, coerced prayer of “faith”), and He will feign love. Withhold the mandatory payment however, and His love will cease, awaiting your removal or His own. In this motif, God is nothing more than the “pimp of heaven” doling out “love” to the highest bidder, the one who will show the greatest commitment, or give the greatest gift.
Where have we gone from the words of Jesus; “the Father judges no one” and “for God so loved the world”? Where did we step off the journey of faith and build a township out of a rest stop called contrition and repentance? Maybe it is in the word repentance itself? What began as metanoia—a change of the mind—became repentance through the Latin word paenitere or penance. Somewhere along the way, a word defined as to change your mind became admit that you are evil and in need of a savior thereby imposing upon God the attributes of a madame vis-á-vis “pay me or get out (of my presence and my heaven)”. A township has been built…no, an empire has been erected…around confession of guilt, confession of sin and repentance. And this thing called “church” has been the sole beneficiary of the will of the masses while the masses will their will for more masses. Or to put it more simply, “church” as we’ve seen it done only exists so that it can exist a little longer.