I asked my little brother, Tim, to share some thoughts on his perspective of the Church in the US...
After 6 years of my job, I'm tired. I am not saying that I hate my job. I don't. I look forward to work every day, but I'm tired.
What I "do" is teach middle school kids about God at a private Christian school. And I know that any teacher, even a good one, can get tired when the spring semester comes around. But this exhaustion that I feel is different. It's not from spring fever or having too much to do. It has been building. I am mentally and emotionally tired.
I've wondered why. I thought perhaps it was because I am an introvert in love with a job that surrounds me with people. Or maybe it is the specific age group I teach. But today, I found myself wondering if I feel run down because of something bigger than my job. I think I'm tired because of our culture. More specifically, I think I'm tired of our church culture. Please understand that I don't mean to bash the American church. I love Jesus and his bride and I know how blessed I am to be a part of her. But lately, I have felt my little corner of "church" has become bored. What I mean is that the many of the Christians I know are numb to the epic romance we are invited into. I see this most clearly in my students. If I could be truly honest, my guess is that most of my students do not really care about the stuff I teach. Some of them try to care. They know they should. Many of them may not even realize they are simply going through the motions or pretending. But the boredom is obvious. This is where I start to get tired. Naturally I don't want my students to be bored so I will try to entertain. I come up with polished expositions and elaborate presentations. I develop in-class projects and activities to get the students active and out of their seats. I have learned to adapt to the bored looks on my students faces and constantly find ways to keep them entertained. But the bell rings, they leave the class, and nothing changes. I am not accusing my students as much as making an observation. And while this is an observation of only 6 years, I have seen enough patterns and consistencies in my students to know the boredom is there. That instead of an adventurous relationship with Christ, they have a hollow religion.
I know that not every church is like this, but I do think many are aware of the problem. Because there are a lot of people that are bored with the church, Christians and non-Christians alike. And truth be told, many churches are very entertaining with their polished expositions, elaborate presentations, projects, and activities. But when church is done, people leave the building and nothing changes. Let me say again that I do not mean to judge or condemn the body of Christ, simply to express my sincere confusion. Although what is becoming more clear is that entertainment is not the goal. In fact, entertainment is exhausting for an educator.
So I go home at the end of my day, still loving my job, but trying to think of how to teach kids about God and wondering what happens to bored Christians when they grow up.