Years ago when the term bipolarism became common in referring to a certain mental illness, I began to associate institutional or traditional Christianity with the same condition. It occurred to me that this very mental condition describes how the church can simultaneously be the cherished place for the nastiest of self promoters and the kindest of the selfless.
No matter where one looks into the agenda of the church we witness evidence of how confusing and conflicted their beliefs and practices appear.
The church is a universal body but politically and practically the church is insistent on segregation from body of humanity. Notice the conflict between staying pure by separation and promoting the Gospel by exemplifying Christ. The one promotes the self. The other joins the church to all those Christ died for. Segregation is evidence of hate and fear; human brotherhood demonstrates commitment to love and peace.
Prayer is either a public ritual or a private conversation with God. Charity is either an exercise to promote the church or an anonymous gift to promote mankind. Worship is a public ritual distinguishing some or a constant awareness of the unfathomable love of God for everyone. Political intrigue promotes the church’s prominence, or the grasping for political power corrupts the church and diminishes its positive influence on the world.
All the above contrasts have always been a part of the totality of institutional Christianity. These polar opposites form the very definition of bipolarism. Unhealthy mental state, unhealthy spiritual state- it all sounds the same.
This comingling of the worst and the best mirrors the general condition off humanity, both individually and collectively. Maybe there is no reason to expect the church to be any different, but the confused state outside the church is not helped by the same confused state inside.