Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tangible & Intangible

I think that Christianity is a lot like love. Love is an abstract concept, but it doesn't mean much without the tangible practice. I don't think that means you have to go to church to practice Christianity, but I also think that going to church can really help.

I know it sounds like I'm contradicting myself. The trouble for me is not whether or not going to a church building is good or right.I think it certainly can be. The trouble is more that it seems very difficult these days to find a church that is about those things that are central to the Christian faith - service, community, love... Church is supposed to be the people, the body of Christ. If the people in a church building keep that focus, they are BEing the church. If they don't, I don't think being in a church building makes them the church.

Candles, incense, liturgy, ritual *can* help keep us focused, but they can also become the focus. Eucharist is supposed to point us to Jesus. Eucharist itself is not the focus. Jesus is the focus.

In the same way, lots of churches right now seem to be getting hung up on the finer points of theology, rather than building community and breaking bread together. I don't think it was this way when I was a kid, but I definitely think there's something going on in Western church as a whole right now. We've traveled all over and visited lots of churches. I don't think it's that we're so very picky. We're just having trouble finding something so basic and life-giving as a community of faith struggling to live the Christian life together in love and joy, walking together in a way that draws other to them.

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