Question to all of us: What is the church?
maj 15, 2011 § Lämna en kommentar
I confessed in a previous blog post of mine, ”The only thing left is remaining in Him and his Words remaining in me”, I confessed that ”I lost trust in the church”. Well, that’s sound pretty extreme, even though it’s not an uncommon standpoint that many people confess.
Let me try to analyze my standpoint here: I might very well be unfair. But my distrust is a way of mentally surviving, a way of gaining breathing space.
Most probably, there’s something in me that’s creating this distrust, but also the church of today is also a source of distrust: there is no way so many Christians would otherwise live outside the church.
To be the voice of those Christians that live outside the church: These actually think about the church more than those who actually are a part of church. It’s like longing for someone whom you love but for some reason your love is not responded to.
May I lay forth this conjecture: Those Christians who don’t belong to a church love the church as much as those Christians who attend church.
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… but this conjecture only adds up if ”church” doesn’t mean the same thing for these two categories of Christians. What differs in their definitions of ”church”? I believe, they have to do with different expectations of what church is and how it’s supposed to function. Thanks to my younger mentor Emanuel, I got a chance to watch the following youtube clip that actually begins to encircle the problem of who is inside and who is outside: What’s Wrong with Religious People? Please watch.
There are other issues here too: The ”church” is very big, has long traditions, and have many experts and theologians at hand, and thus the church sees as natural of owning the interpretative prerogative of its own identity. An individual Christian hasn’t much, actually has nothing, to say against that, except what is perceived as his or her emotional problems or wavering integrity.
On the other hand, it’s easy for an individual to criticize a whole organization while at the same time doesn’t lift a finger to live up to the same standards he or she demands from the church. For those of you who understand Swedish, here’s an article Jakten på villolära that my young mentor Emanuel shared, which actually touches upon these issues.
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So we have two sides, the church and the individual, contending with each other about what the ”church” actually is. I have come to the conclusion that both sides need to go back to the words of Jesus himself, our Master and Author of the Church, which is his own Body, and there rediscover the miracle of the Church every single day. This is where the hope lives: not when and if the priggish church and grumpy individuals come to a peace treaty or not, but the hope is the fact that Jesus himself has done everything for us to realize”church” among us here and now.
But acting upon the words of Jesus about the communion of us followers, could be uncomfortable for both of these sides of the fence, even though it carries liberation in its bosom. On behalf of the church, they must give up the sense of security and prestige built up over the centuries. And the individual will have to begin to be a part of the ”body of the Messiah” instead of gaining cheap energy by just criticizing their brothers and sisters.
In relation to each other, we are not our own bodies, but the body of the Messiah himself, and that’s a very different thing.
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Quote of Mother Teresa:
”People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Source: Mother Teresa > Quotes