I came across a great quotation from Howard Snyder about the way we "do" church. As I'm sure you all have seen from recent posts, I've been spending much of my time studying what it means to be the church and bride of Christ. By no means am I intending to bash anybody for the way they have worshiped over the years (who am I to do that? I've done the same things and my goal is unity and humility. Not being "right").
The questions I'm posing are not whether we need to be worshiping together (we are commanded to by our King)? Or where we are able to worship (everywhere)? I'm also not asking whether or not the local community of Disciples meet at a building, house, coffee shop, etc (God dwells in us everywhere equally. No more in a Worship Center than a House or a Chapel than a Starbucks)?
The question is whether we have given up the truth of God's word in exchange for the comfort, novelty and nostalgia of our man made tradition and liturgy. By no means do I believe we (the body) have purposely defined church differently than Scripture. Instead, we have allowed the cultures of both the past and present define it for us. In the past, the importance of class and the traditions of previous religious beliefs helped to shape the gathering of the body. Today, being "relevant", "entertaining", as well as the business aspect of the church (along with previous issues) have taken our eyes and hearts away from what we are to represent as His body. Instead of allowing God to own every part of us, the loan on our Church buildings now own the congregation. Messages are crafted by man (1 Cor 2-3) in order to drive up attendance or make people feel good so that there is a reason to keep a "staff" (aka Clergy). Neither of these are Biblical and they take away from the beauty of the marriage between Christ and His bride.
I don't have the answers to this problem, and I'm having a tough time defining what my problem within the Church actually is. In a nutshell, I'm just feeling as though we've exchanged the truth of Church for the tradition of church and settled for it much in the same way that culture has settled for sex in exchange for true love. In our hurry to be able to define things, we put a box on God that makes him say what we want to hear and look a lot more like our Homeboy, Aunt, or Donut Shop owner than our Savior, Redeemer and King. All I know is those who love Christ always yearn for more love, more truth, and a more abundant life. Unfortunately we are settling for less when accept the status-quo, live a life out of Fear of the future and man versus the Fear of God, and aim to please our senses instead of pleasing His Spirit in us.
Below is that quote I read. I know I'm all over the place in today's post but I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on what Mr. Snyder wrote. I'm not looking for those to agree, just to ponder whether or not we live for the truth that is in Christ, or the comforts that come from adding Him onto the life we are "making" for ourselves.
"The New Testament simply does not speak in terms of two classes of Christians -- "minister" and "laymen" -- as we do today. According to the Bible, the people (laos, "laity") of God comprise all Christians, and all Christians through the exercise of spiritual gifts have some "work of ministry." So if we wish to be biblical, we will have to say that all Christians are laymen (God's people) and all are ministers. The clergy-laity dichotomy is unbiblical and therefore invalid. It grew up as an accident of church history and actually marked a drift away from biblical faithfulness.... It is one of the principal obstacles to the Church effectively being God's agent of the Kingdom today because it creates the false idea that only "holy men," namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry"- From "The Community of the King" (pp 94-95)