Monday, December 19, 2011

Church Centeredness

Here is an excerpt from Stephen R. Covey’s ”The  7 habits of Highly Effective People”

I believe that almost anyone who is seriously involved in any church will recognize that churchgoing is not synonymous with personal spirituality. There are some people who get so busy in church worship and projects that they become insensitive to the pressing human needs that surround them, contradicting the very precepts they profess to believe deeply.

There are others who attend church less frequently or not at all but whose attitudes and behaviour reflect a more genuine centering in the principles of the basic Judeo-Christian ethic.
Having participated throughout my life in organized church and community service groups, I have found out that attending church does not necessarily mean living the principles taught in those meetings. You can be active in church but inactive in its gospel.

In the church-centered life, image or appearance can become a person’s dominant consideration, leading to hypocrisy that undermines personal security and intrinsic worth. Guidance comes from a social conscience, and the church-centered person tends to label others artificially in terms of “active”, “inactive”, “liberal”, “orthodox”, or “conservative”.

Because the church is a formal organization made up of policies, programs, practices, and people, it cannot by itself give a person any deep, permanent security or sense of worth. Living the principles taught by the church can do this, but the organization alone cannot. Nor can the church give a person a constant sense of guidance.

Church-centered people often tend to live in compartments, acting and thinking and feeling in certain ways on the sabbath and a totally different ways on weekdays. Such a lack of wholeness or unity or integrity is a further threat to security, creating the need for increased labeling and self-justifying.

Seeing the church as an end rather than as a means to an end undermines a person’s wisdom and sense of balance. Although the church claims to teach people about the source of power, it does not claim to be that power itself. It claims to be one vehicle through which divine power can be channeled into man’s nature.

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