Thursday, April 24, 2008

Broken


Today’s post marks a huge change in this blog that’s been brewing for some time. Since the beginning of my electronic journaling over 10 years ago, my posts have been fairly generic, “stuff of life” entries. I have endeavored to share the hope of my faith with my readers without sounding judgmental, condemning or otherwise narrow-minded when it comes to differing views. In fact, I have solicited those views in an effort to broaden my own thinking about this thing called life. I have intentionally side-stepped or soft-pedaled issues regarding how one’s faith is lived out when it comes to church related issues because I am employed by one (more than one over the years), and I wanted to avoid the appearance of stumping for or railing against my employer(s). Today that changes.

Let me say up front that I am not going to begin stumping for or railing against my employer (past, present or future), so those of you drooling can stop now. Rather, I am continuing to solicit your opinions, thoughts and experiences because I sincerely believe that as widely separated and different as they may be, reality and the truth live among them. And I am going to be posting about the church. More specifically, the evangelical, protestant (sadly) western church system.

I have come to the conclusion, that it is broken and in need of real change if it has any hope of being an entity of any relevance in this society. Otherwise, it will continue to see declines in membership and continued dismissal from a society that increasingly views it as unnecessary. Again, I’m talking about the structure or system of church as most of us know it, not faith or individual spirituality. This causes me great angst when I head to work each morning.

So with that – let’s get started. First, let me suggest some reading for you. I’m not the only one who feels this way and there are several authors you might want to get familiar with. Brian McLaren & Tony Jones are just two who have written volumes about it and have consequently been labeled heretics and worse for it, a good place to start. From there you will glean other names and organizations that can further inform you. You may agree or disagree with what you read, but they frame the picture clearly. I want to leave you with a couple questions in hopes of starting the conversation here.

What is the Church’s purpose?

If you attend one, is what happens in your church every week what Jesus told us to do?


Looking forward to journey. Peace……

2 Comments:

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your question is valid. I believe you must first define the word. In the greek, the word for church is "Eklesia" (roughly phonetically spelled) and when used in the first century referred to "the called out ones;" it referred to people, not a building. Today when we say church, the immediate thought is a building, not unlike the picture in your blog. This difference exposes the heart of the angst you speak of. Our Father sent his beloved Son that we might have the way returned to us to walk in the relationship we were created for. While on earth, Jesus consistently spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand. We have a King whose inheritance is the nations (that's us, in Psalm 2). He was given to us by His Father. Paul defines the church as Christ's body repeatedly in his letters and explained through analogy how the body functions. We, individually and corporately, are His bride and the bridegroom is coming for His bride! This choice of relationship denotes the most intimate and tender of human relationships -- one in which "the two shall become one flesh;" so as the bride and bridegroom become one, we are his body. He does not dwell in a house made with human hands.


His body -- the church -- His body's purpose is to make known the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers and rulers (spirits) of this dark world. (Ephesians 3:10) God the Father said "let there be light. . . ." then thousands of years later Jesus walked the earth and declared "I am the light of the world." We carry his light. As we surrender (not just possessions but our very thoughts, motives and ownership of our decisions) and allow Him to live in and through us, we are ambassadors of reconciliation -- the expression of His nature and character to a lost and dying world. The evidence to the angels who rebelled that God was right in His choice to make us - over all other creation -- His heirs.

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Your response is thoughtful and very well stated and I couldn't agree more with it. But for me, it doesn't resolve the issue (which isn't really the point), rather it illuminates the dilemma further.

For all the time, energy and money spent in, around, and through western churches - shouldn't we be seeing more reconciliation? Shouldn't the "dying world" be flocking to them as they express God's nature and character?

It seems to me that the very opposite is happening: infighting and debate over differences and people leaving in droves. Like I said, broken.

 

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