I’ve had a great e-mail conversation with Michael Fawver this week. We do this from time to time, and every time he says something really smart, and I wonder: why don’t I e-mail him more often? Here’s one of my favorite things that he said:
So far, my intellectual answer to the questions concerning the church is all relationship. It all comes down to relationships. It is so simple I don’t know why we are struggling with it. 🙂 All the church should be about is helping people know and be known. The institution of the church is just a forum in which we can rub shoulders with other believers, rub shoulders with Jesus and, yes, even rub shoulders with non-believers. (We are currently better at some of those than others.) In my mind the Sunday morning worship time is one time where we are farthest from intentional inter-human relationship building. So I’m thinking that if we can get ourselves past the “pain” (which you’ve so brilliantly expressed) of allowing ourselves to let go of our preconceptions about church, then we will more likely to be free to be led by Christ wherever He might be taking us.
The saddest part for me is that Sunday morning worship is where we are farthest from intentional inter-human relationship building. We’ve tried to increase the relationship/community aspect, but there’s only so much you can do in a room with several hundred people. It’s the kind of thing that makes one despair of tinkering with what is and doing something radical.
And I hope we will do something radical. In a both/and sense, not by chucking what is, because there are some who are finding meaning in what we’re doing.