Poor, blind, and naked?

Jules over at Everyday Mommy is another one of those people who manages to make to think (ugh). She has been encouraging us to discuss whether the way we "do church" is bibically correct. Now, she has added a new wrinkle: How do we know if we are off the mark? What is our plumbline? Up until now, I have lurked--with great interest. Now I am going to post my thoughts.

Brace yourselves.

I think that it is easy to cast aspersions on the mainline churches' model. You know, "sunday school for all ages" followed by an hourlong service of worship, prayer, teaching, and the like. There is perhaps midweek Bible study, or the occasional hot dish. We can still be in keeping with a biblical model (I always think of the Acts model here, but I am pretty ignorant) at one of these churches. We just cannot let church stop at noon on Sunday.

Our friend Chaz likes to call it "doing life." I have shamelessly taken this phrase into my own vocabulary. We can take the Acts model into our church without shattering the conventions of American or Western church life. Nowhere does First United Methodist Baptist Evangelical Anglo-Lutheran church teach that we are NOT to live in constant community with each other, does it? So why are so many of us within these establishments failing to "do life" with each other? Are many of us like the church at Corinth, content in our little cliques?

I think that our societal woes have infiltrated our church communities. Moral relativism, consumerism, and so forth. Especially consumerism--I have seen too many people struggling for all the wrong things, and struggling right in the midst of people who should be lifting them up. And I mean REALLY lifting them up. By lovingly telling them the hard stuff. How many around you are trying to keep up with the Joneses within your own church community? My church experiences can't be all that unique, can it?

So, no, I don't think we are following the Biblical example of church, but I think the fault lies, in most cases, with ourselves. It is easier and more comfortable to blame an institution, though.

Part II: How do we know we are off the mark?

Maybe I am backward here, but I think we can tell if we are off the mark by looking outside our churches. And I mean in the literal sense. What is going on in my church's neighborhood? Does my church see the mision field in its own backyard? How is my church impacting its little corner of the universe? If my church closed its doors tomorrow, would anybody notice, or would it be of little consequence?

I don't know how much of a plumbline that really is, but when I measure all my church homes, past and present, it's a pretty telling standard.

Comments

Thank you for this--you articulated what I was having trouble articulating myself. We're so quick to blame the 'institution' because it's a little comfier than blaming ourselves. I needed to hear that--thank you.

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