Sunday, January 27, 2008

What do pastors do all day? (Part 6)

Tonight is how every night should end.

The kids are down by 7:10, and Leatha and I get a quiet evening to read, talk, and hang out.

It was a pretty typical Sunday, although I didn't have any major responsibilities with our weekend services. I met with some people this morning after attending one of our services, then I had an afternoon meeting with the worship leaders in our church.

The message this morning was from 2 Corinthians 12... "My grace is sufficient for you- for my power is perfected in your weakness." Grace should be central to every gathering of God's people. I have a friend who recently went through a hard time. He felt ashamed to go back to church because of what people might think. It's such a tragedy.

Church should be a safe place to be flawed.

You can't be a Christian unless you're in touch with how bad off you really are. The more I read through Luke- I see this so clearly in Jesus' ministry. If you've been forgiven much, you love much. If you've been forgiven little, then you love little. That's what Jesus said. But there's no such thing as someone being forgiven "little." That person might not be as well off as they think.

Is your church a place where you can live an honest life?

Are you welcomed where you're at, and at the same time challenged to live for Jesus?

If you're not welcomed as a sinner in need of grace...
If you're not challenged to live for Jesus and change...

Find a new church.

Is that too harsh? simplistic?

1 comment:

jakebradley said...

If you're not welcomed as a sinner in need of grace...
If you're not challenged to live for Jesus and change...

Find a new church.

Is that too harsh? simplistic?

Yes. Both. I think it subtly suggests that if the church you’re attending is flawed then find a new one. Basically, this would include every church to some degree or another and then we end up with a consumer oriented church shopping method. The American church by and large has become a dispenser of commodified spiritual goods and service which the church-goer consumes. It has almost become a club where members pay a monthly fee, "tithe", and dictate what services should be offered. If they are not satisfied, they take their money to another club. Also, I think the church is more welcoming of sinners, than sinners are welcoming of themselves. The friend Mark referred to never even went back to church because of what people "might" think. I guess the worst that people could think is that you are a rotten sinner or subhuman or inferior in some way. And the worst they could do is verbalize it. This would be painful to hear because it breaks fellowship between the members of Christ but not because it is a true statement.

It is also too simplistic in that maybe you are called to be an agent of change, to become the challenger. The comments again suggest that the church is someplace you go as a free and autonomous self to purchase spiritual goods. The church is a called-out people living in a flawed community that is trying to be faithful to the gospel. If you are not challenged to live for Jesus or welcomed where you are at, then the answer is not to leave the church but to become a prophet and call the church to be more faithful and obedient.