Published by Brian Slezak on 12 Jun 2008
For some time now, my wife and I have been attending Living Water Christian Church, in Parkville, MO. (About a 40 min. drive for us. Ouch!) This week’s e-mail from pastor Laura held my attention pretty well. In it, she relayed a conversation with her son:
My son Rob had a conversation with me recently, in which he was bemoaning the state of “organized religion.” He said, “People in churches can’t be real, they have to pretend to be someone they’re not.” I stopped him before he could go any further and said, “Living Water may not be a perfect church, but we have lots of people who have been honest about who they are and what they struggle with. We have made it clear that we accept and welcome everyone because all of us have baggage.”
That spurred this post, which is somewhat my own response to the Robs of this world. I wholly agree with Laura about Living Water, though I know where Rob is coming from, even though my “old guy” years give me a different perspective. For what I would guess is the majority, there is the life we live outside of church, imperfect, flawed, sinful, and via the human condition we simply accept this, and just drudge forward. Rarely we change our ways, or even acknowledge our failures. Then there is the life we live at church, where we are baptized in Christ, eat the bread and drink the juice, act as a better Christian for an hour or two, and try to befriend people we don’t know and build a community.
So what’s with the double-agent lifestyle? Where is the accountability? Why can’t we be like Rob and others envision, where if we say we buy into it … we actually BUY into it? To err is human.
This made me recall a conversation I had with Chuck Russell regarding accountability groups. Essentially these are small groups where individuals hold each other accountable to a very high degree for living a good Christian life. Why are these groups not wildly popular in every church? I think it is because people don’t want that. It’s to effective! “I seriously have to give up my sinful ways behind closed doors and live *that* life? For the love of God that sounds boring!”
For the love of God, we turn away, and are loved regardless by His grace.
Our flaw may be small, only a seed, or it may be a full grown tree with deeply set roots. Christianity is a walk – not a switch that is turned on and off. We accept Christ as our savior, strive to overcome our weaknesses, but we do not change overnight.
How does today’s church affect our lives in practicality? It may start with that person in the mirror.