Showing teeth: How to turn the church into a lion once again

Roaring lion

Going to church can be sacrifice and time-strapped modern men have tons of options. Getting dressed and running out the door competes with sleeping in and breakfast in bed. It’s not a good deal if you have to feel awkward for two hours and hope that things are over soon.

Most of the time it’s not even the theology we have a problem with. It’s the word we signed up for in the first place. We love God and want to see his kingdom come. But as the new mainstream hit the church, ushered in by Hillsong and those alike, church association shifted from Abe Lincoln toughness to a Jane Austen book club. Today, the church is all about emotions and expressions. It’s about serving cookies with tea instead of conquering sin and holy living.

Holding hands and rejoicing

While servanthood and grace are part of a healthy church, we ignore the part where Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers (John 2:15). He used a whip, not a pretty smile. He was not afraid to do what’s necessary. He confronts evil and shut up the Pharisees with brilliant rhetoric.

Unfortunately, a lovey-dovey pumpkin church of hugging and kumbaya will not produce the same devotion and songs about the sweet face of Jesus won’t foster ground takers and wall breakers. A devoted Christian life, modeled after the Bible, is tough.

Doing what is necessary

A sissy would never opt-out for a life as a missionary 150 years ago. But James Gilmour, a Scottish missionary to Mongolia, was a tough dude who wouldn’t compromise his mission even after 13 of his fellow missionaries were massacred only one month after his arrival in China. “Our death might further the cause of Christ more than our life could do.” What can a man be afraid of if he’s not afraid of death?

The guy was like a bull terrier, fighting for the kingdom no matter what stands in his way. After four years after working with violent alcoholics, James didn’t see a single convert. But he didn’t give up. So much greater was his success when he made his first brother in a smoke-filled hud somewhere in the middle of Mongolia.

“The place was beautiful to me as the gate of heaven, and the words of the confession of Christ from out the cloud of smoke were as inspiring to me as if they had been spoken by an angel from out the cloud of glory.”

Satisfaction hit this lion-heart’s soul as a confirmation for his holy calling. That’s the essence of endurance and the role model we need in our churches today. Real men with real grit who give it all for the glory of Christ.

True sons of God

We need to sing songs like this and we need our pastors and preachers to be like this. Because that’s who Christ is. We have seen some if his characters displayed in the church but there is more to him then compassion and serving the poor. We need to add to the good we already have and build a culture where men feel welcomed and needed. We need to build the brotherhood.

Once we have that, once the warriors govern the church, we can bring back the cookies.

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