Monday, July 21, 2008

What is Church, part IV

Interspersed with some personal posts, I will continue this dialog on What Is Church for awhile. Those who know me realize at some point I will probably question you as to why you do what you do. Not for the purpose of analyzing or judging, but to bring about the thought process of why do you do what you do. I am not a fan of people walking with the masses without thinking through why you are walking. The topic really doesn't matter - the question is the same. Why did you choose that educational direction for your child, why do you live in the city you live in, why do you eat....., why do you go to bible study, why do you drive a......, why do you watch TV (go to the movies, read fiction)? All why questions with varying responses. I admit I am most engaged by people who think through their lives. Their responses intrigue is God's way of showing me his creative diversity.

At the moment I am asking the What is Church question which really is the Why Church question. I am cutting and pasting a blog post I read recently. I don't necessarily promote his blog or his views, but this entry was interesting...what do you think?

"Anyhow, I’ve been reflecting, recently, on church and why it’s important. You should know, I go to church. Regularly, even. I enjoy it, but that’s not why I go to church.

We don’t go to a particularly intellectually challenging church, but it is a place that seeks to be diverse and intentional about its place in the community. I like that, but that’s not why I go to church.

We have a sunday school class that meets each sunday morning, I find it more intellectually stimulating, but that’s not why I go to church.

The sunday morning worship is exciting, but that’s not why I go to church.

There’s a strong corpus of likeminded Christians that attend our church, but that’s not why I go to church.

Our church has the capacity to change me and make me a better person, and while that gets a little closer to the meat of the issue, that’s not why I go to church either.

There was a man, we’ll call him George, in my Sunday school class. He passed away last week. He was probably in his mid 70’s. George loved God, like really loved her. George had a passion for sharing the gospel–he had been a missionary before he retired. George was about as conservative as they come, politically…and probably theologically, too.

I go to church so that I can be a part of a community with people like George. His wisdom, his love of God, his devotion to bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth, they’re all things I desperately needed–and desperately need. I need to see and grow and be a part of a community of believers who are not just of like minds.

Of course, I could get that online. I could point to a plethora of sites that don’t share the same allegiances as I some to a small degree and others to a greater degree. However, calling these places community in most cases would be a stretch. Also, there are certain kinds, a certain specific demographic, of people who blog.

All that to say this: settling with being a part of the Church allows you to comfortably place yourself in communities wherein you can be lulled into a sense of happiness and contentment–happiness and contentment are much less likely in a church. Frankly, I think contentment is one of Satan’s (literal or figurative) biggest lies. As Christians, I hold that we’ve been called to be discontent creatures. Now, I think that our discontent should be a hopeful and joyful discontent, but it is a discontent with sin and division and hate, nonetheless.

George didn’t have a blog. I couldn’t just log in and get my daily dose of George. In order to be a part of George’s life, to be in community with George, I needed to go to church.

George is not an outliar. There are lots of Georges in lots of different churches. There are lots of things to like about the Georges there, and lots of things that will, rightly, drive you nuts about them–some will even hurt you deeply. But, in the end, if you’re satisfied to be a part of the Church without being a part of a church–you’ll miss out on some important stuff."

Does this resonate with you? Do your church leaders know that it resonates with you? Care to comment? What role does the Holy Spirit have in the above quote? How do we go about seeking a church? Why are so many young believers not attending church? Are they missing out or misunderstood? Do you even ask the questions?

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