Church People Are Lame

Church people are lame. At least that’s how I interpret Proverbs 26:7 which I read this morning:

Like the useless legs of one who is lame
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

What would a proverb in the mouth of a fool sound like? Empty. Rote. Lacking gravity. 

It seems to me that we have a lot of this dynamic in the North American church: people who know the right information — can even recite the right verses — and consider such knowledge the chief end of man. People who know the truth, but haven’t lived it.
Cloistered experts.
Untested teachers.
Well-informed fools. 

I’ve often wondered if this is what the gospel writers were identifying when they said Jesus taught “as one who had authority.” Perhaps the people of the ancient near east had a higher standard for authenticity in their teachers than we do. Perhaps they could spot a preacher who traffics in words without wisdom. Perhaps they valued religious leaders who had, as one of my coworkers likes to say, “some tread off his tires.” 

This proverb describes why it’s important for churches to deliver more than lessons. Sermons and Bible studies are important, but they are not the whole of our calling. The goal of discipleship is transformation, not just information. If we don’t embrace such a standard, our churches will be less useful. And Christians will just be lame.