Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Churches - An embarrassment to the Upright!

From Eugene Peterson:

"The churches of Revelation show us that churches are not Victorian parlors where everything is always picked up and ready for guests. They are messy family rooms. Entering a person’s house unexpectedly, we are sometimes met with a barrage of apologies. St. John does not apologize. Things are out of order, to be sure, but that is what happens to churches that are lived in. They are not show rooms. They are living rooms, and if the persons living in them are sinners, there are going to be clothes scattered about, handprints on the woodwork, and mud on the carpet. For as long as Jesus insists on calling sinners and not the righteous to repentance – and there is no indication as yet that he has changed his policy in that regard – churches are going to be an embarrassment to the fastidious and an affront to the upright."


casey said...

all people fall short of the glory of God. and since the church is made up of those people, can we really expect the church not to fall short also. and in my opinion if a church has the appearance of the perfect image of church, i think there is something seriously wrong with it. i think the most important thing is that we continue to try to become that image, while never attaining it.

Kerrie said...

Here is a true scenario. I walk into a building that is perfect and the pride and joy of those who sacrificed to build it. I am greeted by well meaning perfectly dressed members in formal clothing. I'm ushered into a pristine "sanctuary" where the members seat us in pews that look as though they've never been used. I'm now starting to wonder if my 3 active children with their coloring books, crayons and church snacks might not be welcome. The stiffness of the building then plays out in the worship service as well. No one makes eye contact although we are old friends with these people. There is no spontaneity, no joy shown, no sign of life other than moving lips during songs and an occasional cough during the lesson.

Not only did I not want to go back to this building to worship, I can tell you that I wouldn't be confessing my sins, and being honest about my needs to the people there either. People that are at a point of admitting their sin and need for Jesus don't want to have perfection thrown in their face from Christians. In fact they would rather be around those who can relate to where they are in life at least that is how I am. When I'm in a mess spiritually I go to those that I know are also dirty. I confess to those who won't judge but will love me and support me. Hopefully I don't have to go outside Christ's church to find the Cheer's bar, where every body knows your name.

Give me handprints, used kitchens, and cracker strewn pews any day. And give me Christians that know they are "grace covered sinners" and have the sincerity and love to share their struggles with others.

Charles North said...

Remember my "St. Arbucks" sermon? Here's how I started it:

"I walked into the Starbucks in Waxahachie, and here’s what I saw – early on a Sunday morning: Three cowboys with dirty jeans and big hats were sitting drinking black coffee at a table, an older man was sitting reading the paper, a few High School kids were sitting on a couch laughing and talking, two biker dudes with leather and boots were sitting at a table on the patio, a middle-aged, well dressed couple were in line – clearly on their way to church, a young girl with some weird pink streaks in her hair and tattoos was standing looking at some mugs, some touristy lookin people with kids in tube socks were looking at the pastries, a couple of state troopers were milling around waiting on their non fat, decaf lattes, and there were four employees – friendly, smiling, happy, and real helpful. And I walked out to Holly who was in the car, and I said to her, 'Starbucks – the perfect church.'"

Mark said...

I have alway been uncomfortable with the physical layout of our buildings. So many of the set ups are remnants of the separation of the laypeople and the clergy and leave us very detached from each other.

As an adult, I became uncomfortable with the "dress code" for our corporate gatherings. Something seemed really wrong with putting on my Christian costume to come together and then going back home and putting on my worldly clothes.

We come together to join together in our praise to God. We also come together to help strengthen each other. We come together so we can go back out and face the world with renewed strength, strength that helps us reach out to the lost and those in need around us.