I am a self diagnosed Christophrenic. It's kind of like being schizophrenic, except that the source (or maybe just the subject matter) of my confusion and delusion is the Christian Church. Specifically the American Christian Church. Somehow this powerful institution has managed to convince me to hold two opposing beliefs and cling to them simultaneously as truth, even though one seems to negate the other. So I walk around everyday unsure of what is real and what is imagined. Or maybe I just lack the courage to decide. In any case, my condition has left me tired, confused, and wondering who I really am and what Jesus really wants from us. Here are the two opposing beliefs:
1. Because the church's mission is to bring as many people as possible into relationship with Christ, we must use every technique available to attract people to the church. If cool spaces, high quality video, great music, professional marketing etc. is what gets people to come, then we should unapologetically spend money on those things and do whatever it takes to attract people to Jesus. And it makes sense that tastes in more affluent areas are more expensive, so that means that doing church will cost more in those areas and that's okay. Eventually the people who come to church will be transformed by the message of Jesus and we will teach them to help the poor, but if they are not attracted to the church in the first place, then they will never hear the message, so there's no reason to give up part of what we're doing in our church in order to help the poor, because we are already missional and in the long run we will get more people to help the poor this way. The highest call of the Church is to help people with personal salvation, not to do social gospel work.
2. The church is primarily about calling people to follow Jesus and join a community of believers in a new way of life that expands their definition of family and shatters their ideas of ownership. What Jesus asked his followers to do is to usher in the Kingdom of God on earth, which looks totally different from the prevailing culture of greed, selfishness, and ambition. Christ-followers are the ones courageous enough to stand up for the poor, the neglected, and the hated. They are a community of sacrifice who share in a way that eliminates poverty among them and works with the logic of the upside-down kingdom. They are a peculiar people who seek to give up everything in order to find what is really valuable. It is a narrow road and not everyone will choose it, but there is no option to make the road wider and more comfortable. The highest call of the Church is to ask people to join "the Way" -- this way of life that is an expression of God's Will being done of earth as it is in heaven.
HOW CAN BOTH OF THESE BELIEFS BE TRUE AT THE SAME TIME? NOW YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I AM A CHRISTOPHRENIC.