why the imperfect church
The Problem: Hungry to please God, devoted to scriptures, and genuine in love and respect for God, the vast majority of churches have taught past this central doctrine without realizing how profound it is, how revolutionary it is to the human soul, and how vital it is to an authentic and meaningful relationship with God. It is the distinct pathway to intimacy with God. It is the source and strength to healthy human relationships. It is the active force behind all genuine life change. And yet, it is missed in most churches.
Most human beings live the majority of our lives with a performance-based measurement of success. In some way, all humans have been taught to define their personal value and worth by how well we can measure up to a certain set of behavioral standards. As a result of our obvious inconsistencies to live up to these standards of perfection, most humans also encounter significant places or periods of shame in our lives. We fail to measure up to some certain behavioral standard put forth by our parents, our peers, our employer, the church, or even
God. We fail at a point—or many points—of behavior, so we believe we have failed. That sense of our identity being framed by failure produces a hidden, quiet, inner place of shame.
Churches often mistakenly reinforce shame and set us up towards a very flawed doctrine of human-based effort to succeed at God’s standards for our personal holiness.
Religion as a social construct is a more difficult space in which to practice unconditional love and limitless grace because religion is rife with opportunity for judging others, for forcefully imposing our ideals, and for experiencing frustration towards people who struggle to succeed
at the mores of our faith. Especially among Christians, a culture commonly exists where we feel responsible to pressure others to conform their lives to biblical standards. This pressure is often applied through placing our relationships under certain conditional parameters. In the common church mantra, if you live biblically and in line with our version of spirituality, then we can be close to you. But if you live with some sort of ongoing spiritual or moral deficiency, then we cannot draw close to you for fear of being corrupted or of being seen as endorsing your lifestyle. This form of conditional relationship is nothing like the nature of love that God has and that the Imperfect Church seeks to practice.