Monday, January 19, 2009

“Do”-ing Church?

I was with a group of fellow Christian men last night, gathering for our weekly dose of spiritual banter, coffee and treats, and many times musical exploration (some are way better than others). This is always an eclectic group of people and we generally disagree on most about everything. Last night it was creation, evolutionary theory (even as a possibility), and young vs. old earth. I will save you from the details…

However, while meeting there was a wonderful question that resonated with me concerning what it means to “do” church. Now for a small background…some of that group are very “emerging” as it pertains to theology and church practice…some are very “traditional” in their theology and church practice…with many who would claim aspects of both.

In a slight shot at the emerging movement and its various forms on nontraditional church expressions and gatherings, a friend asked about their preoccupation concerning “do”-ing church. Particularly because the movement argues that traditional church models have got it wrong. He asks, “Why do we continue to talk about how to “do” something that is understood, theologically speaking, as a reality simply because we are a part of this cosmic powerful all encompassing Body of Christ? “ (I paraphrased and embellished a bit).

I would like to propose that “Christians” (in the sense that someone places their faith in Christ and seeks to follow Him) should think of “do”-ing church, not as a function or special gathering, but rather as a growing awareness of those times in which church is a reality because Christians are spending time with each other.

Church (ecclesia), or a gathering of a called apart people, is nothing more than those people being together for the purpose of which they are called. If together, and that gathering is marked by the purpose of which it is formed (namely to Love God and each other), then it should be called “church.”

Now, one must consider that the word has a certain level of implication that there is more than one for instance….It isn’t really a “gathering” if it is just you, even if you tend to have leanings similar to Me, Myself & Irene. I have thought during times of musing that if God is always present, the Spirit of Christ dwells within us, and Jesus is listening and advocating on our behalf…oh, and I can’t forget the Devil who is ever present to trip us up and seduce us with sin…then even as I sit here typing this I am in community. Not to mention the hordes of angels that surround us, singing praises to God and being the servants of His children.

…I paused for lunch….a gathering with four Christians around a wonderful Indian buffet…talked Christian

I have to admit…that the lunch was a beautiful expression of Christ’s Church…we didn’t incorporate, have an agenda, or even play music…but we worshiped God in our discussion and loved each other through the community. The four of us may never be together again in one setting, but the marks of lasting change will be evident in our lives…may you all grow in awareness of the church that happens all around us.
(All references made in this blog can be found in the Bible, please enjoy the process of finding them)

Grace and Peace,
Robin Martin, M. Div

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