I have a dysfunctional love affair with the church. In fact anyone who loves the church has this same dysfunction. As much as we love the church the pain that those who are the body of Christ exhibit toward one another is enough to cause us to turn off the alarm, roll over, and sleep our Sunday mornings away.
The Church isn't perfect because we are the church. When we say we don't like church we are, in essence, saying we don't like the people of God. The church has abused power, distorted theology, and compromised the Holiness of God. It has engendered hatred, promoted prejudice, and withheld grace. The church is greedy, backbiting, jealous, envious, and contentious. Who would want to love such a group of misfits - God!
If this was all there was to the church we would be worthy of the world's pity, but the dark side is when the light of Christ is hidden. When he is allowed to shine through her the grace and mercy of God shines brightest. The church has built more schools and hospitals around the world then any single organization. She has provided food to the poor on a scale that rivals governments. The people of the church are some of the most sacrificial people in the world. They open their homes to orphans, care for widows, and fight for the rights of the oppressed whether they are fellow believers or not. This is the church I love.
I am going to tell you why we can't abandon the Church, no matter how dysfunctional she is, ready. She is the means God has chosen to manifest his plan and glory to the world. That's it, we are plan a, plan b, and plan c.
God's wisdom is foolishness to the world. He used the cross to save, he extends mercy to the unworthy, he offers life to obstinate people. To be great we must be the least, the be first we must be last, and to be exalted we must serve. We are to pray for our persecutors, give them a second chance, and wage peace among warmongers. We offer hope in hopeless situations, find strength in weakness, and peace is in the storm not after the wind dies down.
When the Church lives out the wisdom of God the world will sit up and take noticed. When we care more for the cross of Christ then geopolitical or self-serving ministrations the floodgates of God's grace will burst open. When we offer God's forgiveness His spirit will convict the world, we don't need to be His hammer.
I love the Church with all its deficiencies because she is God's beloved bride. I love the Church and as we love one another the world will see the manifestation of God in its midst. I'm just saying...
Eph. 3:10 "so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places."
To read further reflections of my Dysfunctional love affair follow this link.