Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blue Like Jeans (see what I did there?)

They call Nashville the "buckle of the Bible Belt" har har, a nickname that is well-deserved as evidenced by an excessive amount of churches throughout the city limits and even into its suburbs. So, it would seem that in a place like this, finding the "best church for me" would seem like an easy task. It's funny that we do that though, isn't it? That church should conform to us, like trying on jeans or something. We say that "the church is the people," but come on; I've heard that my whole life in countless churches where they say its "the people" when they really care about the music style, the charisma of the pastor/speaker, and countless other semantic factors that in reality, give no evidence that the church is truly found in the people. Christians don't choose a church based on the people, at least it can seem like that where I come from. You find the one in the pile that best fits you for those countless aforementioned reasons and get a membership and tithe your 10%. Easy peasy.
If you've read this far, I'm sorry for the obnoxious cynicism of the above paragraph. Dramatic effect. I know there are, and should be, many factors that help us decide (/be led) what church is best for us. Yet I find that sometimes dramatic sarcasm can shed some light on at least a little truth. For me, that truth is that for a long time I had lost my faith in the Church; NEVER Christ, but the Church. Because you see, I feel that I've gone to churches my whole life where the people are more absorbed in the politics of it all (whether its worship wars, grilling the pastor, or debating who should be in office or who had the audacity to mow their lawn last Sunday) than the MISSION that Jesus Christ Himself asked us to carry out. Some of these disagreements are the results of passions and convictions that each side understands to be in some shape or form prophetic, and in history, such disagreements have caused division on a macro as well as micro scale. I'm not saying denominations (which essentially are Christians saying to other Christians "agree to disagree") are wrong; we're human so they're probably necessary. But we can't cling to such cultural semantic differences and call it faith. Jesus never claimed that He was starting a new world religion (although I'm quite certain he was aware)  -- He said that He was the WAY. A "way" indicates that we need to follow Him, laying our burdens down, dying unto ourselves to receive life from the Creator of it. And then live that life He gave for Him. He didn't say He was the rut, and He didn't say He was the moving-sidewalk-at-the-airport-thingy; He didn't say it would be easy, and He definitely didn't say it would be COMFORTABLE: He said that He was THE way. Just ask any of the martyrs.
So then, why have we gotten to a point where we try on church like we try on jeans to find the most comfortable pair? Because if this is our outlook on Church, then what is the point of the Church? Please don't get me wrong; we need to find a Church family, and in this broken world, in this broken nation, there are broken churches. In fact, I dare say all of them are. But that's what makes them BEAUTIFUL. That the Church is broken, that its people are broken; yet God still wins. So don't look at Church like you look for jeans. But if you insist, find the church with the most obvious patch jobs and stains -- because I guarantee it's the most real, the most honest, and I dare say the most Christ-like. Because the Church is the people, the people are the Church, and when we follow His WAY, that is to walk in rhythm and step with His steps, we will truly rock this world and move mountains.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking some about these things today. My best church experiences have always revolved around the people... and I am really grateful that I had a church in college that the pastor took time to be a mentor to me. It's been a frustrating this semester in Nashville because 1 the time's so short to develop any serious connection with a church and 2 when church hopping at really large churches with a group of college kids, it's way too easy to just go in and out and not even meet anybody. I know some are able to make big churches work, but for me I think I need the forced intimacy of a smaller gathering of believers. Otherwise I think my church choosing would become about the other stupid little issues.