Epilogue to our Discussion about Church
So often I’ve been amazed at what I see here in the Christian blogging community. In some cases, I’ve read a blogger’s posts over time and seen tremendous growth; in others I’ve noticed several bloggers post on the same subject at the same time quite independently of one another. More than anything, I’ve seen that many of us are willing to set aside our differences in background, culture, nationality and doctrine to spread the Good News to a worldwide audience as one: It seems quite clear to me that God is up to something in all of this. I can’t help thinking that this is how a movement gets started, at least this is how many movements have started, historically speaking.
The church is a living thing; it is organic, active and a force to be reckoned with, yet the lesson we must draw from its history is that like other organic things, it has ebbs and flows in its life. This has been evident throughout the history of the last 2,000 years; it is also evident in the life of ancient Israel. In much of the Western World over the last 60 years or so, the church seems to have been on the decline, it has ebbed. Could it be that we are seeing the beginning of the next flow? I believe that is the case, for not only are interesting things happening in blogs, but there is a transformation going on in many places today; I have seen it and experienced it myself, I have been involved in it myself. Most of us don’t really know about it, it hasn’t been reported in the New York Times, but it is there nonetheless. You might have heard something about it, perhaps you have heard that there are crazies in some parts of the country who aren’t “doing church” the right way; so modern, so odd. Of course, that’s what they said about the Great Awakening back in the 18th century, but it was very real and it had a huge impact both in Europe and America at the time; it was even one of the contributing factors leading up to the American Revolution.
I cannot pretend to predict the future, and I won’t try to do so here, but it seems clear enough that God is pretty busy these days, even though it’s the “other side” that is grabbing the headlines. Maybe one of these days, I’ll write some more on this, but for now, I really want to take this in a different direction while keeping these observations in mind.
Most of us are very aware of our relationship on a personal level with our Lord; these relationships are precious and we write about them often. More and more of us are becoming aware of the relationships that are forming among those of us who write Christian blogs; certainly I am. I have gotten to know several of you in fact over the last few years. For many, this community is more “real” and loving than their church relationships at their local church, you know the face to face relationships with other believers. We may find that our experience here is more fulfilling because even though we may all come from differing backgrounds, we are all of one mind when it comes to what is really of importance, while our friends at our regular churches are stuck in the mud; trapped by circumstances or old bad habits or whatever else is going on there. More and more we can see the difference…
Before you throw up your hands in frustration with your local church and consider the blogging church as a better alternative, I would ask you to think a while…
Consider: Isn’t it possible that God has brought us together here so that we might see a little bit of what is possible, and then take that vision back to our local churches and become the catalyst for transformation in our local congregations? If your relationship with Jesus Christ is precious to you, and your relationship with other Christians online is becoming precious to you, doesn’t it occur to you that those relationships that are “in person” with a growing and vital congregation that has its focus on brotherly love and selfless service would be even more precious?
I can say very clearly that my relationship with our Lord is nothing less that wonderful. I can also tell you that my relationship with the community of believers in my “home church” where such a transformation began about 6 years ago is wonderful plus ten. (If that makes any sense) I am pretty sure that I know the reason for this: It is because that relationship has the added feature of purpose; God’s purpose. We know from Genesis that God created humans for relationship with Him and to accomplish His purpose. Relationship + purpose = fellowship between Man and God and that is why we were created. Here in the “church” of blogs we have a taste of that, in our local congregations, we have the chance to have the entire fullness of Christ.
So, here’s a new challenge: If you will not step up, then who will? If not now, when?
I am, as always, looking forward to your thoughts…