the traditional position held by the church in our contemporary american culture is interesting to me. i grew up in a church that had been around for a very long time, a swedish baptist church in a small iowa farming town in the gently rolling hills of northern crawford county (kudos to those of you who got that reference). to me, it was how things were done. nobody i knew disliked church, pretty much everybody went to a church and that’s just how things were done. i know that it isn’t like that everywhere, and there’s actually a pretty huge variety in churches. it seems odd to me that the church could grow to be a social institution and really become chiefly social, and then go from that point to being something that people dislike. the early church was pretty controversial and whatnot, but they got attention for taking care of the poor and building each other up and whatnot. granted, many centuries have passed and things tend to change over that amount of time, but i wonder how much of the change that happened is the surrounding culture and how much of it is the church. i don’t think the church is doing everything wrong, but we’re certainly doing some things wrong, and im not entirely sure what all of those things are.