Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jesus Church

I believe there is value in the wrestling.  I believe there is value in our grappling with matter we don’t fully understand because through the struggle we gain the experience of why we have come to the answer we have come to.  There are many who are fine with someone just giving them the answers or “cheat codes” so that they can rest comfortably in a matter that may best be struggled with.  

Having said that…I have been having a tough time writing because I don’t want to be a cynic, but I find myself veering that direction.  I have said before that I am a recovering Pharisee, so it is an easy default for me to point the finger rather than doing any sort of self reflecting to see how guilty I am myself.  That being said let me try to put into words the beginnings of where my head has been.  

There is a God.

It is a simple statement, but that carries a lot of weight about what I believe.  If I believe that God exists, it drives me to try to understand Him, what His purpose is, how am in relation to Him, is He stand offish?  Is He the type that just winds up the clock and lets it run and watches as a spectator or does He want to be involved?  

Now, if I believe what I say I believe, then a lot of those questions can be answered in the life of Christ.  I have found that to be a wonderful, fearful, and freeing belief.  I have faith that this is the truth by the evidence that I have found about Christ.  

So, I believe in God and Christ.  This belief and all that goes along with this belief (Creation, the cross, resurrection, etc) leads me to also believe in the Holy Spirit and His living and guiding me in my everyday life as I grow in this belief.  

Now, what you believe has a profound impact on our actions.  It guides or corrupts our decisions, our impulses, and the shaping of who we are.  

So I look at the life of Christ, the wonder of His perfection.  The sacrifices He made in coming here, the cross, the teaching, the time, the…life, death, resurrection.  I look at Him because, if ever there were someone to be the epitome of what God wants for our life while here on this earth, it would be God (Himself) in the flesh, right?  

How could I argue with that?

I, like you, cannot live the life that Christ lived.  I am not perfect.  Since this is true, I am called to rely on the Holy Spirit to live a life that will guide me to look more like Christ.  My life will not be perfect, but it will look a lot like Him if I listen and am guided by God’s Spirit.

I am not perfect, and I don’t always hear the Spirit’s guidance clearly.

However, this thought process has me looking at various aspects of the modern church and has me wondering how much we really look like Christ.  

I don’t want to be another one of “those” guys who feel no sorrow in ripping into the Bride of Christ.  I want to do something about it, but I am not sure what.  

The Bride of Christ, the church, should actually look a lot like Him.  Does she?  Not only that, does she know how to?

Now, this is the point where some who may be reading are possibly thinking, “I could do more to help out in the church.”  Please, before you go there, hang on.  I am not denying that is a possibility, however, being the church isn’t so much about doing more.  

I think being the church has a lot more to do with listening.

Taking time, getting quiet, spending time with God, and letting Him lead you.  I think too often we find someone who is growing in their faith and we try to plug them into an already established position, or we try to start a ministry with them that we feel is a good idea.  There is a place for both, but what if they aren’t called to be a trustee?  They are doing something they do not feel passionate about and feel like they “should” continue because if they don’t they somehow lose a closeness with God.  

As I said, there is a place for directing people that need or want it.  

However, how much does that look like Christ?  Do our decisions in directing look like Christ’s?

It isn’t that it can’t be Christlike, it isn’t that it is in no way Christlike.  What the danger in it is is that we have a man made system in place that we try to plug various others who believe and unintentionally make them believe that this makes them a better follower.  

Is that something Christ would do?  

There is a lot more I will add to this, but my mind has been whirling around about this.  I don’t feel as though I have put this in the most eloquent words, but I almost feel as though I need to get this down because otherwise it will just keep running through my mind without coming to any form of conclusion.  

More to come. 

*This thought process has been in my mind for some time, but gained momentum as I went on a trip recently that involved tearing out ceilings, painting, and renovating an old building that a new church is meeting in.  They are working to do church in a different way in inner city Pittsburgh.  That week involved no worship, no sermon, no rituals, and yet I feel like I was at church all week.  I felt the presence of God in the rubble.

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