So these past few days I’ve been pondering this idea called the church. For some reason this thing, this movement, this beautiful mess causes me to stay awake at night, losing sleep, so desperate to try and find what it means to be the church that is truly effective. A church that truly lives out the story of Jesus. A church that helps transform dominate culture and a church that helps bring peace, truth, love and blessing to the world.
To be frank, when I look in the mirror I’m getting a true reflection of the church, ya, it’s me-scary right! Is it me, or do I just feel a disconnect from the church of today as compared to the church in the ancient narrative book of Acts. Somehow I’m dreaming of a pre-Constantin church. Damn Constantine, he really screwed up the ethos of the church. He created a religious institution as opposed to an organic (yet organized) movement of Jesus followers who were looking to freaking change the world; and they were doing just that.
Then somehow, the Jesus story just became another religious story. The Jesus story is not that great if it does not look and feel like Jesus; it can be rather hollow, weak and dangerous. I mean, think about it, how boring is it to get up early on Sunday, the so called Sabbath, dress up (like the other 5 days of the week), get the kids ready (like the other 5 days of the week), drive to church, deal with parking issues, drop a check in the offering bucket, listen to passionless worship and boring speaking. Folks, I do not want to have to pay to be bored on a Sunday morning, do you? BTW-When we gather for church, should it not be off the hook, should not the presence of God be so overwhelming, should not the glory of God be so awe-inspiring that we can care less about football or if the gathering went over the allotted time? If God is in the room does ANYTHING ELSE REALLY MATTER? Trust me, I’m the dude who is looking at the clock-preacher better bring it or else I’m jumping on my Treo and surfing the net while I act like I’m taking notes. But if the preacher brings it, I can roll with him/her. If God is truly speaking, is there a better place to be? If heaven is coming to earth, if the Holy Spirit is walking up and down the aisles, if lives are being changed, Is there a better place to be? I think not, especially of those folks who are encountering Jesus are determined to leave that place of corporate worship with a missionary mindset…They leave the church building to go and be the embodiment of the church within their neighborhoods, places of work and family, and they allow the very essence of God to flow through like a vessel; dominate culture is bowing down to the Jesus culture; light overcomes the darkness, and the darkness flees to its rightful place.
Is not this thing called church suppose to be exciting, risky, dangerous and world-changing? Is not the church suppose to be filled with worship, the place where heaven and earth meet; like the temple, the “Holy of Holies.” Except everybody can walk in and experience the very person of Jesus Christ. We do have full access, but why do I feel so locked out? Why does church seem so darn boring, why does my own version of Christianity seem so civil, so domesticated?
The word boredom may be the worst way to describe my generation, we hate that word, we hate the thought that our lives are boring. We are world travelers, activists looking to make a difference, graphic artists building their own websites, pod-casters doing their own radio shows, bloggers letting their opinions be known to the world. We want experience, we desire experience and we expect experience. Therefore, the very thought of the church portraying Jesus as civilized, safe and boring is absolutely tragic to a generation looking for hope, something greater and bigger, something worth following.
Now here is the kicker, Jesus was the same way; A world changer, a demon fighter, a peace giver, a community lover and a religious hater. Jesus was into extreme sports, like walking on water in the middle of the storm. He was down with UFC, he fought the devil for 40 days and kicked his butt, he hung out at parties and pubs, with friends and family drinking wine and laughing.
He loved little kids, hung out with the outcasts, mocked the religious, and built a community of friends who wanted to make the world a better a place. I think my generation would love Jesus…But they can no longer see him…Because the church is now standing in the way. Or better yet, I’m standing in their way-ouch!
Therefore we must asks ourselves, how can we get out of God’s way? What is the original intent of the church? What are we suppose to do, how are we suppose to look, much less act? What are the characteristics of a church that can help change the world? So I’m hoping to do a series on how I see the church; my personal dream for the church. And to be clear when I say church, I’m looking more towards church as a community. Church that includes corporate worship and preaching. Another words, I’m seeing this church through the filter of the good old western Christianity. The very thing that is standing in the way of the Ancient Christ.
Over the next few weeks I hope to discuss the mission of God, and the fact that we are all theologians who are called to worship God and use our gifts to fulfill the call of God on our lives and to step into the role that God has given us. Please feel free, agree and or disagree. These are my open thoughts, I hope to learn, grow and have a space where conversation can take place. I hope you learn from me and I learn from you!
Remember, Love each other, love God and love life.
Peace & Love from Austin!