Saturday, June 22, 2013

If the Church would just be the Church, then....

If the Church would just be the Church...

....then what?

...then we will have said that phrase 1 million + times and nothing has changed?
...then we will get more air time if we utter this platitude?
...then the pastor's sermon will, all of a sudden, be revolutionary and bold?
...then the Kingdom will finally come?

This statement - "just be the Church" is often employed by pastors, armchair theologians, and Christians fed up with this world drowning in sin. This "bold" solution to our world's woes presupposes the notion that the hearers of this proclamation actually know how to be the church.

But what if we don't know how to be the church?

What if "being the church" inherently means, not knowing how to be the church.

Perhaps it's a process to be the church. Maybe we should start saying, let's become the church.

Sure - i suppose there are problems with that. Becoming the church would mean that we're currently not the church....and that's just not right. I really do think that we - those who understand and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord - are through our baptism, incorporated into Christ's universal church.

Since we don't know how to be who we are, I propose that we learn to be[come] who we are. 

Sounds confusing...

This reminds me of the LORD's name in the Old Testament, which is equally confusing. It is traditionally translated "I Am what I Am." But the Hebrew is pretty flexible. It can actually be translated in multiple ways. You could render it, "I Will Be who I Will Be." Or...even this: "I Will Be what I Am."

If God's own name can be understood in many ways, then I think that the Bride of Christ, the Church, can also be understood in a variety of ways.

So when I hear that iconic preacher phrase, "Be the Church," it sounds like a nice corollary to "I Am what I Am." Sure, that's one way to look at just doesn't help us figure out how to Be. 

But there's also (and more favorable in my opinion), "I Will Be what I Am." The Church is already here...and the Church isn't going away. So let's learn how and what it means to be the church, and in doing so, perhaps we will become what we already are (in a realized eschatological sense for all you theology nerds).

That, I can jive with.

***If this makes no sense to you, try re-reading, paying close attention to the italics. If it still makes no sense, comment on the blog and tell me. I mean, it is 1am while I'm writing this and we all know that my bed time was 2 hours ago. I'm a 60 year old man trapped in a 24 year old body.***

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