Friday, October 14, 2011

A brief exercise in parallel logic

I stopped eating, because I got some bad meat one time.  Plus, I've heard it's happened a lot of other people.

I quit driving because I got hit by another car.  Twice, even!  I know lots of people that's happened to.

I stopped having friends, because sometimes people claiming to be friends aren't really.

I stopped listening to music, because I've heard a number of songs & artists that are bad on a epic level.

I stopped going to the beach, because it's rained on me there a couple of times.  Plus, there was seaweed on the beach that one time.

I quit going to the oncologist @ M.D. Anderson, because I know a guy who went there & then died.

I disavowed any affiliation with any of my preferred football teams, because I know some others who support them who are jerks.

I stopped learning anything, because I know some well-educated people who are still fools.

(All of the previous nonsensical statements are equally logical as the following one)

I quit going to church because of the actions of some other fellow churchgoers.

(Read that one again.  Now one more time slowly.  Now go back up to the top & read the previous lines again.)

If you're going to church to find perfect people who always behave well, then (a) you're always going to be mighty disappointed, and (b) you've really missed the basic point, or what my former pastor calls "the big E on the eye chart."  A church is a bunch of flawed, imperfect people who are being made over into the image of Jesus Christ.  Granted, the makeover process moves along at varying speeds...maddeningly varying for some of us!  But it's happening, even when not visibly so.  Like when Christians act like jerks in restaurants after Sunday morning church, for example.  If you think you've found the perfect church populated by perfect people who always behave well, be careful; they may not be telling you the truth about other things too.

One of my own long-distance mentors that I've never actually met describes himself thus:  Who I am:. . . a guy who was made, messed up, and mercifully made over by His grace. . . struggling to live life to His glory in the now but not yet Kingdom of God. . . longing to enter into that glorious time when what originally was will be fully restored.  (Click to see Walt Mueller's blog)

That, ladies & gents, is a proper understanding of who we are and what we're about as Christians.

A buddy said this: "If we found a perfect church & joined it, that would make it not perfect any more."  A theologian I sometimes agree with & am always challenged by said it this way: "Of course the church is imperfect!  That's why they'll let you & me in!"  Nailed it.  I have nothing further, your honor. 


(p.s. to churchgoers: While I firmly believe all of this, PLEASE read the previous entry about "church goer jerks" in tandem with this one!)

(p.p.s. to churchgoers: Again, while I firmly believe all of this, PLEASE don't consider sanctification-in-progress as a license to behave like a jerk.  Verily, the world around us is watching.)

(p.s. to non-churchgoers: If you want to know where the "flawed & imperfect folks" section of Temple Baptist is, come sit with me! I'm the heart of it.)

No comments: