There are so many great things about the Church. Within this global body of Christians, worshipping one God, there are so many different people, different experiences, different gifts, different callings, different passions. Attending a regular church service is so important for building community, and this can be developed further by joining a house/small group and serving in your church. Such a community, as well as the teaching from the ministry team, should be a wonderful opportunity to firstly learn about who God is, but also to explore the big questions we have about life and controversial topics.
However, in my experience of church, there are still quite a few things the church isn’t talking about enough. Naturally, I can only speak for my own experience, and I know different churches differ in their approach to these topics. Here are a few things that I believe that Church needs to talk about more, both in terms of teaching and in discussions – my thoughts on this blog first began as I thought of all the things I wished my older, Christian friends had talked to me about. The Church is just as much about the people and the relationships we have with each other as it is what we are taught from the front.
Things the Church needs to talk about more
The topic of same-sex relationships has been a big one for many years. But there is so much more to sex! I was fortunate enough to attend a youth group that raised the topic of relationships and introduced the idea of waiting until marriage (you can read a recent blog about this here). However, I have heard very little of the subject since those few sessions. I know the Church elsewhere has traditionally had a lot to say about ‘purity’, but this doesn’t seem to have been anywhere near such a big deal in the UK. Where are the conversations about lust, about waiting, about sex within a marriage, about God’s design for sex, about the Songs of Solomon?
Following on from the topic of sex, is the topic of pornography. Porn is such a wide-scale issue, highly accepted in modern culture and permeating much of our society in comedy, TV, media. What does the Bible have to say about this? What help can it give to those struggling to control their desire for pornography? One great resource I have found is Fight the New Drug.
Every year, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem (mind.org.uk). Imagine your church congregation – statistically, how many of the people sat alongside you are suffering from a mental health issue? For an issue that affects so many people, mental health gets very little attention from churches. It’s a confusing topic and has been misunderstood for many years, but what actually does the Bible say? Does it say anything? What hope does it give? Unfortunately, what little mention I do hear of mental health in Christian circles makes huge assumptions and often jumps to dangerous conclusions.
Climate change, global warming and the environment are everyone’s problems. Many people are recognising the changes we are seeing and the actions that we must take to counter the problem. But where is the Church? Why are we not leading the charge to protect God’s creation? What does the Bible suggest we should do? What can churches do to lead by example?
Now, please don’t get me wrong here – I do not want to start great debates in church about which political leaders or groups we should be supporting. I do not want to be following in the footsteps of America where Church and state have become so intertwined that politics can be confused with the gospel. I have seen vicar’s make the mistake of posting their political opinions on Facebook and creating great divides in their own congregations – making claims that “Jesus would do this” or “Jesus would vote for X” is certainly unhelpful and rather unbiblical. However, I don’t believe that the radio silence we currently hear is the correct way to go either. I would love to hear a biblical reflection on how we should choose who to vote for, or an open discussion on legislation and decisions to be made.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage (tommys.org). This is such a huge and devastating statistic that clearly affects so many people. It is likely that all of us will, at some point, have a friend or family member that experiences a miscarriage, or will do so ourselves. Honestly, miscarriage seems like one of the scariest, most traumatic experiences I could imagine experiencing and I can’t begin to imagine the pain it must bring to mothers. So where is the support from the Church? As a body we have the ability to provide both practical help and emotional support. How are we treating miscarriage? Are we skirting round the subject? Are we assuming that it can’t be that bad because the child wasn’t actually born yet? Or are we treating miscarriage as the death of a fully human child? Brittany Allen has some wonderful advice on this matter here.
Perhaps the opposite of miscarriage, the deliberate ending of a pregnancy is something that I have heard about on podcasts and through Instagram ministries, but have never once heard in a church service or house group discussion/Bible study group. Abortion is a topic I have heard a lot more about recently following the legislation passed in America but it’s something I’ve been passionate about for a while. In my understanding, the Bible and science are very clear, yet abortion has become so celebrated that the Church avoids talking about it for fear of offending and being seen as backward. If this is something you’re interested in, I’d be very happy to share my thoughts on this in a future blog post!
Again, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a talk or a discussion in a church context that has related to what marriage actually is – what does the Bible say about it? Is it better to be single or married? When should we get married? Is divorce ever OK? What about abuse within marriage? How can we repair broken marriages? As a newly-ish married person I definitely would love to hear the church talk more biblically upon this matter.
Our response to terrorism
The rise of terror attacks over recent years have left me questioning the churches response. We see many tweets about sending our prayers, which is of course very important, but if these remain simply tweets they are nothing (even completely faithless people will retweet a #prayfor whatever). What should we as a global Church be doing in response to such devastating events. What practical support are we offering? How are we coming together in prayer? How are we responding to the resulting media coverage? What do we have to say about the hate-filled conversations that reach the brim and overflow following such tragedy? I would love to see the Church more open to give a response, to take action and to stand together in response to these events.
What do you think about these topics? Can you think of anything else that your church needs to talk about more?