This first one is from January, 2007 while I was still studying at Regent College. While obviously idealistic without much specific substance (!!!), I still feel the same way 5+ years later.
The church or not the church?
It’s easy to examine institutional Christianity and become frustrated at the apparent shallowness prevalent in the faith of many Christians, particularly in North America. Christianity seems to simply be another social attachment no more significant than a gym membership or social club. Individuality is expressed to the point where the Christian faith has become relegated to be true only as private preference, with no relevant meaning for the world beyond therapeutic benefit in face of difficulty (which in North America usually pales in comparison to the massive suffering in the rest of the world).
Ok, enough complaining, because if there is one thing that frustrates me, it’s ripping apart institutional Christianity without offering some sort of way forward. I think that the alternative required is a redeemed vision for what it means to be the church. Rather than accepting that Christianity has become a matter of personal preference (which leads many to drop it all together), I wonder if it is possible to reclaim its relevance within the context of the church and society… Is it really possible that institutional Christianity can still serve a purpose in our world? While many will say no, my understanding of church as true community that encompasses all areas of life forces me, no matter how depressing the track record, to emphatically say yes!
The church or not the church? I am willing to explore the church…