Trapped in Church?

I came across this photo today which intrigued me. It sends a message that is receiving a fair amount of airplay in recent times and that is: Church is a trap.

Does this ring true with your past experience? Your present? In what ways would you say this is true, or not true? How do you see your friends, neighbours, and workmates believing this claim? Why would they see the Church in this light?

(Discuss amongst yourselves.)

The Church Trap at the Burning Man Festival, Black Rock, Nevada, USA, August 2013. (source: The Atlantic)

The Church Trap at the Burning Man Festival, Black Rock, Nevada, USA, August 2013. (source: The Atlantic)

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3 thoughts on “Trapped in Church?

  1. absolutely. I think there is an outsider perspective that we (us inside the church) are luring you in with various promises to then trap you into something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. On a course I am doing on mission, we have been talking about the dangers of “bait and switch” approaches to new memberships. Alpha Dinners can a classic example of this if done poorly – its all a great wonderful party with lots of open discussion to get new people along – but then church turns out to be something entirely different.
    From the insider perspective, I have had many times in my spiritual journey where I have felt the walls of the institutional church close in on me – narrowness of attitude, insistence on doctrinal purity, correctness of liturgy, lack of genuine community – these can all make church feel like a trap.
    So the question is how do we make it different?

    • David, that “bait and switch” is what perhaps irritates me most about many church evangelistic endeavours. The agenda becomes the ultimate goal. I remember doing up Christmas baskets for the needy simply so we could have an opportunity to present them with ‘the gospel’ and invite them to church. Now how would you feel if you were given a generous gift and then were asked for something in return? This is why I can’t support organisations like Samaritan’s Purse, because many of their field distribution teams require that children attend a meeting where ‘the gospel’ is presented before they will get their ‘shoebox of love.’ If the gift of God has no strings attached, why do we attach our own strings to it?
      I also agree how the institutional church can be a trap and, for those of us who have been born into it, it has often felt like we have no choice but to follow its rules and meet its expectations. I really don’t feel like drawing people into that kind of life. Yet, there are exceptions to this and they–thank God–are gaining momentum.
      Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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