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Come Together, Right Now

July 14, 2010

Today I read an article on CNN.com entitled “‘Virtual preaching’ transforms Sunday sermons,” which talked about the growing trend of using video sermons at multi-site churches.  Once I got over the fact that CNN was reporting on a church (one that isn’t conducting a subversively offensive and violent protest of abortion or gay rights), I noticed something that caught me off-guard:  They kept using the word “multiple churches” when talking about multi-site churches.  When I first read the phrase, I thought “Huh, that’s odd, must be a mistake.”  But the writers just kept using it.  Why?  I think it’s because people outside of multi-site churches just don’t understand how multiple sites can join to become one church body.  But it’s also bigger than that – I think non-Christians (and heck, even a lot of Christians) just don’t understand what it means to be the Church (note the capital “C”).

Christians are called to be one body (1 Cor 12:12a), in Christ (1 Cor 12:12b) in one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13) (listen to my buddy Bryan’s explanation of the body of Christ here).  But to someone outside the church, this isn’t clear.  We look like we’re competing for converts, preaching incredibly different gospels, and, on a good day, throwing in a token reference to the “Church,” hoping folks realize we’re on the same team.  Most Christians seem to read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 like this:

“For just as my church is one and made up of many members, <snip>, so it is with Christ.  In one doctrine we all follow one worship style – white or American – and all were made to do things our way.”

So why wouldn’t non-Christians think we’re all completely separate and basking in our individuality?  Here’s what it actually says:

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

Wow, that’s quite a different message, isn’t it?

I’m not proclaiming my departure from organized religion or declaring I “like Jesus but not the church.  In fact, I love the church, and am feeling quite convicted as I wrestle through the ideas Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck propose in Why We Love the Church (Go buy it. Now.).  What I am saying is that we, as the Church, need to do a better job of working together to bring glory to God.  Now, I’m not talking about working on various social justice campaigns, though I think they’re great, and I’ve participated in quite a few.  I want to see the Church embrace itself – stop the competition, critique and flat-out slander.  I want to see us celebrate our various expressions of worship.  Heck, we might even learn something!

So, a final note, first to the Christians – STOP RAGGING ON YOUR CHURCH!  We all have problems, and since we make up our congregations, they have problems too.  Like Bryan says in his message (have you listened to it yet?), “Christ chose a butt-ugly bride.”  But, we’re still His bride.

To the non-Christians – We might be crazy, but we really are just trying to figure out how to love Jesus and love the world.  Stop by sometime and let us serve you.  Most of us don’t bite.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. emily permalink
    July 14, 2010 2:44 pm

    thank you! needed that one.

  2. B.C. McWhite permalink
    July 14, 2010 9:48 pm

    Good word, bro. Thanks for the shout out!

  3. Beth permalink
    July 14, 2010 11:20 pm

    I just love reading your thoughts and perspectives. Thanks for all of them!

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