Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Stackhouse on "Church"...

"We are stuck with the church. The old saying "You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family" applies to the family of God. In cities in which there are dozens of Christian churches, people believe they really can choose thier church. But the family of God is always and everywhere made up of fallible, shortsighted, struggling human beings bound together ultimately only by thier common allegiance to Jesus and thier commitment to each other in service to him. There is no other kind of church to choose."


"English archbishop william Temple once put this sarcastically: 'I beleive in one holy, infallible church of which, I regret to say, at the present time i am the only member.'"
taken from Church: An Insider's Look at How We Do It - John Stackhouse

Waffler asked me about baptism and church membership on the weekend-I think this might be a starting place. Who knows?


Jan said...

This is a scary thought as there are so many church's to choose, each of which teaches the same thing with a little different twist. I don't have my bible here (Laboratory) but it says that the path to heaven is a narrow one. The question is, just how narrow?

Incoming... said...

i think you are right jan it is really scary. It probably means that we somehow have to engage our brains deeply on issues like what doctrine and theology churches teach as truth. to me it just means church has to mean something more than just some cool club we get to belong to. It's really about joining a mission of people who are working together to help restore the world around them back to wholeness. i think that is also what Jesus meant about the path to heaven being narrow. I DON'T think he was talking about finding a church or doctrine that is perfect or without error. Instead he was really talking about our gut motivation. i always get scared when people leave me with the impression that they know everything there is to know about spiritual matters. We are constantly growing and learning which means we have to be willing to admit that the way we thought in the past was in some ways misguided. My take is that if we can be that realistic about our own short-comings we have other issues (like power, control, or other insecurities)
Nobody wants to miss out on heaven. But here's the kicker. Jesus taught that is was way more important to love God and people than to get all your doctrine stuff in a row. basically it boils down like this: if you focus on doctrine you end up with rules - jesus was famous for breaking the rules (even though he did not sin) - - - if you focus on loving/helping/restoring broken screwed up people (everyone) you prove that God really lives inside you (here's a few chunks of scripture to check out 1John 4:7-21 (in fact read the whole book of 1John; Matthew 22; Luke 10; Matthew 25).
the path gets really narrow if we have to live for other people's benefit and not our own greedy selves.