For those of you who don't know me here's a very short intro. I've been a Follower of Christ for 35 of my 54 years. Almost from day-one I've been a member of the Nazarene church. I have three main passions: Jesus Christ, my family, and information technology (yes, I'm a Good News Geek). Within my faith I believe in holiness living (thus my Nazarene affiliation) and a God who is HOLY, loving, merciful, and full of grace (but not a pushover).
For years I have tried to encourage the church (the organization) to find new ways to relate to our culture and keep lines of communication open to everyone. I like open dialog because I don't feel a need to defend my God. He is more than able to defend (or reveal) Himself. I love my church but I understand why people don't like or don't trust the church - I'm sorry to say that most have good reasons. I believe we need to go from being a church (organization) to being His Church (the body) but I know that the implementation of this concept is challenging.
Tom, I understand and appreciate your feelings. The book Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna confirmed a lot of "under the table" feelings I had about the modern church - just like the ones you expressed. I see some benefits to having a church organization but, to be honest, I see more disadvantages. The thought of abandoning the modern church doesn't set well with me but the current church seems to be ill equipped to effectively communicate the message of God's forgiveness and love. Why? In my opinion; it carries too much baggage. It is junk that we, as fallen humans with good intentions but limited wisdom, created. It is an organization that is only loosely (actually, very loosely) based on God's Word.
So, what is the answer to this problem? That is THE question. The answer is in God and I believe He will provide it. It is just so hard to hear Him over the roar of our life styles and western culture. But I plan to keep trying until that day when He has my full, undivided attention forever and forever.