I love the Church and I want it to thrive. As a result, I’m often occupied about how true to our identity we are as the Church. This means ongoing introspection, and, sometimes saying something. I’m generally opinionated and, at the same time, always reigning myself in. Particularly on social media. Among the many subjects I can get worked up about, the Church is at the top. Interestingly, it is also the one subject I’m most careful about. This applies even more in times of failure of / in churches. I dare critique my / our critique.
This is because there is no more significant and sacred enterprise than the Church. In one sense representing Jesus. A vehicle of his Message and love. (How well we do that is subject for discussion.) What could be more significant than that? In case you need the answer to that: Nothing. Nothing can be more significant than being invited to be a part of God’s mission on the earth.
Sidenote: These thoughts are a work in progress. I’m just thinking out loud on how we can have healthy conversation on how we can be and do better as the church. I hope we can have civil, constructive conversations. You know, family talk.
Excuse being a little poetic, but it is a divine privilege to be part of such a mystery. God inviting us to be partakers of His mission–relationship with people and ultimate restoration of creation.
Being reminded of how important the Church is had me thinking about how I / we talk about the Church, particularly in times of failure. I’ve always had some code or personal rules and I thought writing them down might be helpful for me. Maybe even all of us.
People, Not God
The Church is God’s. It is made of up of people. People are loved by God and are not Him. I needed to say that because this is one of the personal codes / rules I’ve used in talking and thinking about the Church. What I’m trying to say is:
When I speak and think about the Church I’m careful to distinguish between attitudes and actions of people in the Church and Jesus thoughts toward people.
Because the Church is seen as representative of God actions of people who identify as a part are sometimes taken as synonymous as God’s action and attitude. Sometimes I’m a bad representative of Jesus’ love for others. Sometimes the imperfection of our humanity blinds people of Jesus’ love for them and we, as the Church have to take blame for it.
So, when a community of believers does something that’s at odds with Christ’s Message, I’m careful to say that it is not the Church per se. In one sense it, is but in another sense, it isn’t. I’m careful to distinguish people’s / individuals’ actions from what God does. We can say, the church, as in people in the church without implying it is God Himself.
I’m careful not to equate actions of individuals in church to God’s. There are times I need to remind myself: God is not Person X.
Church(es) is Gods and made up of people. When people mess up / we should be careful to lay the blame there.
Also worth reading / listening to:
Any thoughts / contribution on making the distinction between God and His people?