"They like Jesus, but Not the Church."
I've heard Dan Kimball mention this concept a few times. (In fact he is writing a book by that title for Zondervan) I'm just wondering though How hard it is to separate the two? Isn't the church suppose to point people to well ... Jesus. Isn't the church suppose to be the Bride of Christ?
And that Jesus loved and died for the church.
I wonder why there is this cynical, bitter, idea of the church?
Perhaps it is because the church has been abused, misused, and perception of her promoting people's agendas, rather than God's?
Think Donald Miller's Confession Booth
Maybe that is why I'm leary of promoting the church and youth ministries as flagships or that we have all the answers even to questions such as:
"Would you like to know God personally?" (AS if we know everything there is to know about God)
A balancing of the Faith, facts, and feelings. Faith is a journey. Not just giving pat answers.
I cannot make people know God personally. They have to want to seek as God is seeking them. The philosopher Arthur Holmes is known for saying, "All truth is God's truth." We are to seek out truth.
We label everything. Even the church and things are labeled as "Christian." Rob Bell shares the story of being at a convention and hearing a well-known pastor speak after him. "He essentially told the roomful of pastors that if their churches weren't growing and they weren't happy all the time and they weren't healthy and successful, then they probably weren't 'called and chosen by God' to be pastors." pg. 84 (Velvet Elvis Zondervan, 2005) Rob then goes on to share his disappoint with this because it wasn't true.
So how does this go back to "They like Jesus but Not the Church?" Lots of people like Jesus. Lots of people like the concept of Jesus, the problem is we see Jesus as likeable instead of loveable. We need to love Jesus and love the Church.
Rob Bell (I just finished reading his book, Velvet Elvis) again shares a story about a pastor who was ready to do the typical sinner's prayer and to raise their hands etc. No one would be looking, all eyes to be closed. Here is what he shares on pg. 176
"He then asked for people who had prayed that prayer to raise their hands wherever they were seated.. This way he would know who were so he can pray for them. He said that nobody but him would be looking.
The pastor then said, "I see that hand over there. Thank you. I see that hand in the back. I see some young women in the front ..."And he proceeded to acknowledge the hands that were going up all over the room.
During this entire time I had kept my eyes open and was watching the whole thing.
I didn't see any hands go up."
One of the ideas I have is a returning to the whole Dangerous Wonder, the messy discipleship, the passion reclaimed. The idea that we are to balance what we are repulsed by, and what we love. I want to dream that my job is loving the church (Even if I don't like what others portray her as), being the church, and being caught up in the moment.
The church may not be perfect, But I'm hoping soon that a book title comes out soon with They Love Jesus, Because They Love the Church. Now that I'm thinking about it ....The Apostle Paul was very instrumental in helping write that. The Epistles found in the New Testament. I just pray that our lives, and our stories become God's. And may we blog that we love Jesus, because We love the Church.