Friday, April 09, 2010

Family of fortress?

Here is a very helpful and thought provoking article about the church. In it the author, Jonathan Dobson, identifies what I think is a core challenge that we face. Maybe always have faced. It's the challenge to be the church rather than just doing church. It's the kind of language we hear a lot these days, and for good reason. The church has wandered so far from its intended pattern that I sometimes wonder if the New Testament people would even recognise it as the church anymore.

It is of course much more difficult and much demanding to be the church than it is to do church. Being church takes time and energy as we seek to live as a community, a family and not just an organisation.

In the article three types of church are described:

  • The fortress church, where the goal is doctrinal conformity and mission is about tossing grenades of judgement into society.
  • The shopping mall church, full of sales-people and consumers.
  • The cemetery church, lost in time, lifeless and irrelevant.

All three lack the essential characteristic of church. Community. But community is costly, it's hard to achieve. It is so much easier to walk the old paths of doctrinal security and consumer Christianity. It's so much easier to criticise from the comfort of the pew or chair than it is to become something other, to become a family.

The article is well worth a read, so please do go and check it out.

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