Posts Tagged ‘ekklesia’

I’ll be the first to admit that relationships are hard, and I’m not very good at them. I wish sometimes that I wasn’t so sensitive, so easily hurt – so prone to withdrawing when I do get hurt. Yet I haven’t given up, because I know that God is in his very essence relational – and we are created in his image. It’s not good for us to be alone. But how can we connect with others meaningfully and not experience pain? The simple answer is, we can’t. This is where I stumble repeatedly. I hate pain. But I know that the most fruitful seasons of my life have been the times when I’ve gone through gut wrenching pain and grief. Somehow God uses the sorrow to refine me, to draw me closer to him. The other choice I have is to become embittered by circumstances and angry at God. I’ve found that this approach doesn’t work very well in the long run. I will forgive those who hurt me, even if it kills me, which it will. That’s okay. There’s a lot more at stake here than my hurt feelings. I can love people even if I don’t agree with them.

What matters more to Jesus? “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart”. I haven’t stopped longing for authentic relationships, but I’ve grown weary of hoping to find them within the context of “The Church” (church, the institution, not the body of Christ, the ekklesia that Jesus intended us to be). Of late I’ve noticed that my friendships with non-Christians are more authentic than the ones I have at church. What is it about “church” that creates an atmosphere of fear, pretending and hiding? I feel sorry for people in positions of leadership. Even if they want to be real, it is enormously risky for them to step out and admit their own frailties, in order to foster a culture of authenticity – but I wish more would! Who cares about money and church attendance when the deeper things of God are at stake? Many will stay with the status quo because it’s less complicated, safer. Maybe if my pay cheque depended on keeping “the pharisees” of the congregation happy I would compromise, too. I sincerely hope not.

I have a dream. Imagine extracting “church” from its usual context, and moving it to something more organic. Not a place we “go”, but a way of “being”. I love the idea, for example, of inviting a bunch of people over for brunch on a Saturday or Sunday morning. We could enjoy a meal together, talk about Jesus, read the bible, sing some songs – allowing everyone present to function in their natural and spiritual gifts, and as such, being a real expression of the body of Christ. A family setting, a natural place for relationships to occur, for ministry to occur, for discipleship and mentoring to occur. I know I’m not alone in having this dream. The Spirit of God is moving in the hearts of so many people to restore His Body to the living organism He intended it to be.


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