It seems perfectly obvious to me that in this culture the Church stands in as great a need of reformation now as it ever did. That is, the Church as an institution, needs to be reformed. We need our false gospels, and false gods taken from us and repentance granted. But I am concerned here and now to talk about the reformation that must happen on an individual level for Christians. This is an aspect of reform that I don’t see dealt with as much, at least not in those terms; and institutions are only as reformed as the people who are within them.
The presence of false worship always means that reform is needed. Our greatest idol, no matter who we are, is ourselves. And one of the ways in which this is seen is the ever popular comment thread on social media. I have been involved in quite few of these and I am sure that anyone reading this has been as well.
It is an almost inevitable fact of life in the social networking age that any comment thread dealing with religion or politics will turn ugly, and almost any comment thread can turn to religion or politics at any time. So what am I babbling about?
Well here it is: When these comment threads devolve into flame wars (as they so often do) and even when they don’t, but rather become long, monotonous ya huh, nu uh battles, there is a palpable worship of self going on. And there is a palpable desire to remake man in our image. This is not invariably true, of course, but it is more common than not. At least, that is my strong anecdotal suspicion. Why can’t these morons just see that I am the fount of all wisdom and adjust to my obviously superior view of the world? Isn’t that often what our attitude really amounts to when we get engaged in these things?
I certainly am not saying that engaging in an argument is wrong. There is a time and a place and very often on the internet, that bastion of ignorance and half informed opinions, truth does need to be proclaimed in no uncertain terms. But our self-worship soon takes over and we begin to attempt to re-create those with whom we are arguing in our image. The proof of this is seen as the thread continues and the comments get more snarky, more sarcastic, and more personal as it continues.
Brothers and sisters this ought not be so. We know, as Christians, that the world needs the truth of the gospel. “There is one name under heaven, given among men, whereby you must be saved”. Alas, the Holy Spirit, although He is a user of means, very often opts not to use the means of a seventy-five hundred word, sardonically written Facebook comment in the conversion of a soul to Christ. I have been guilty of this myself at times. Kyrie Eleison!
So we want reform in the Church? Great. It starts with those who are the Church believing that the law is true “You shall have no other gods before me” and that the gospel is true “All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved”. May God grant us repentance and faith as we interact with those around us. Repentance from our tendency to worship ourselves to the point that we become angry when others wont be just like us, and faith to believe that we are forgiven for our rather boorish idolatry through the bitter suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.