Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Safe but Wrong Question

The "church" question is safe but wrong. In the culturized Christianity in which I find myself, the question posed to one another about our spiritual status and the practice of our faith in God centers on church attendance. It is safe for both the one posing the question and the one being questioned to inquire about what church one attends.

The question can be motivated by a well-intended concern for the spiritual welfare of someone. Behind the "large" church attendance question lies some not-so-subtle "small" questions: Is the one being questioned going to church? Are they going to the right kind of church? If the one being questioned fails to give the "right" answer, the questioner then seeks ways to get the wayward soul to attend THEIR church. And in this Christianized culture, each church-goer MUST believe that their church offers Truth to consumers in the best way (for them, at least) much like some car brands believe you are safer in their car without condemning other cars brands.

I wonder if the first believers asked each other what church (or "home group?)they attended? We know that the Corinthian community were a bit hung up on spiritual celebrities but since their "church" was the only one in town, they had no reason to use the church attendance question to assess someone's spiritual health. Their community had enough issues already.

I think it would be refreshing ( and perhaps somewhat uncomfortable) for fellow travelers on The Way to find a question that accurately and compassionately expresses both support and concern for mutual spiritual welfare. A question about church attendance simply asks a geographical and institutional question. It reflects nothing of one's participation in the culture of God. A question about one church attendance focuses on one's participation in the culture of institutionalized and consumer-oriented Christian practice.

I don't yet know what the "right" question is, but I do know what the "wrong one is no matter how safe it may be to be asked.

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