What is church?
That’s the question isn’t it? What is church? What is it really about?
Is it a place? No. I don’t think so.
It’s not an institution either when it comes down to it.
Sure, we’ve made it into those those things, but it’s really not those things. Those are false versions of what church is.
Church is a community. A trust. Church is vulnerability. An ideal lived out in practice. It’s a practice. A way of being. It could be summarized as authentic vulnerability.
It’s not the facade of taking the easy path or playing it safe. It’s not what comes across as comfortable Christianity. It’s not Christendom. It’s certainly not Christian Nationalism. Isn’t not small Me and Jesus.
It’s the theology of cross. It’s about justice. It’s about suffering together. It’s about transformation. It’s about walking in the face of hatred together. It’s about taking a gut punch together and still going forward. It’s about responding in peace when violence is thrown at you. It’s about ending cycles of violence because violence only leads to more violence. It’s about reparation. It’s about life, death, and resurrection. It’s about ending abuses and oppressions. It’s about ending racism and white supremacy. It’s about ending hatred towards LGBTQ+ people. It’s about forgiveness and grace and mercy. It’s about moving towards shalom. It’s about all of this and more.
Because it is ultimately based in hope – something that the church is really about. It is what the church offers to a world that lacks hope. Because the world sees the brokenness all around it and it just sees despair, but the church sees possibilities and those possibilities present opportunities and the opportunities present hope and a future. That’s ultimately what the church is – a future. Not just any future, but God’s future. The future that we are moving towards. We aren’t moving towards the past, thanks be to God. We are moving towards the future – God’s future. And there is hope in that future. Because it is in the future where we have restoration. It is in that future where there is reparation. It is in that future where there is resurrection and transformation. It is in that future where there is life. That’s what church is. And that’s why church isn’t a place, or an institution, or a membership. It’s far more. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. When they do, they make church too insignificant.
Excellent post. So very true! Thank you!