Sunday, March 14, 2010


"…to be connected to the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child-molesters, murderers, adulterers, and hypocrites of every description. It also, at the same time, identifies you with saints and the finest persons of heroic soul within every time, country, race, and gender…because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves." ~ Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing

I love the Church. It may sound crazy but I do. All of us knows what it is like to be embarrassed or ticked off by someone in our family but they are our family we love them. Well, the Church is my extended family and there are a lot more of them than in a normal family. There are millions, which means many more opportunities to be embarrassed or ticked off. I heard about a Christian congressman in Florida who wanted to make some law that would force all the science books to be rewritten to say that the earth is the center of the solar system. He claimed that the heliocentric model was all a sham and he tried to prove it from a gross misuse of the Bible. That really burns me up, but he is one of mine. Every time I look at Joel Osteen I want to smack that stupid smile off his face and staple his lips shut, but he is one of mine. Ken Ham's bad science embarrasses me as a Christian scientist, but I cannot disown him because he is one of mine. John Wesley used to really piss me off (even though he has been dead for more than 200 years) until I started to read his journals and things like, "Everybody who belongs to Jesus belongs to everybody who belongs to Jesus."

There are some great things too. I could mention the hundreds of Christian social organizations that fight hunger, sex trafficking, and all other sorts of injustice but that would be too obvious. I would rather write about my professor's fourteen-year-old daughters who love to sit and talk with the elderly at their church because his daughters "like to hear them talk about Jesus". That makes me proud. I would rather talk about my friends whose marriage almost fell apart but they stuck it out because they are true to their vows and they love Jesus. They make me proud. I would rather talk about my hero, Steve Brown, who runs two ministries that could easily take up all his time and yet he still takes the time to mentor young seminarians like me. He gets a lot of flack from many Christians (some in my denomination) because of his radical teaching on grace but he does not retaliate (no matter how much he may want to) and practices what he preaches by giving them grace. He makes me proud.

Entering into a covenant relationship with Jesus means being a part of His bride, which is the Church. He is a lot more accepting than I would be if I were Him, but that is why He is God and I am not. The Church is His bride. She is an ugly bride, no doubt, but she is loved dearly by Him and will one day be fully conformed to His likeness. But until then they are still mine and I can never forget that.

By His Grace,

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