I read today with despair but little surprise that the Church of England is on the verge of splitting over women priests and gay ordination.
More despair than anything.
What kind of message does this send out? The established church dividing again. Wow, what a surprise.
It just strikes me that none of this is what Jesus had in mind when he asked Peter to build His church.
Ask people what 'the church' means to most people now and they mention the institutions of church, the establishment church. They usually mean the Church of England or the Catholic church, which despite whatever they believe appear to a lot of people now as part of the established order, part of tradition, part of culture, even part of politics and royalty.
Jesus didn't come to become part of the establishment, He came to show them what they were doing wrong, and to take them on and re-define his culture.
Jesus didn't come to bring more legalism and tradition, He came to shame those who were very religious and legalistic, and to show them there is more to being a follower of God than following rules and regulations, or knowing the scriptures off by heart.
Jesus didn't come to start a religion, but to show us a new way to live.
Church as Jesus orginially intented, church 'Jesus style', is not a religion, its not establishment, its not legalistic, it doesn't get caught up in single issues and doesn't argue about being right or wrong.
Its a community trying to follow the way of Jesus, to stand for the values He stood for, taking a lead in fighting injustice, taking action where Jesus would take action, making choices daily for God, serving each other, giving to each other, blessing each other, living at peace and don't falling out over 'disputable matters', and showing love and grace to all people, welcoming everyone no matter who they are.
Its a way of life, an organism.
Its constantly changing, growing, learning, developing, nurturing and evolving.
Churches are outwardly different in how they put their faith in to practice, depending on the circumstances, location, culture, need and type of people where its located.
But at their heart they should have the same values, desires, passion, and inspiration. They should all have the way of Jesus at their heart.
Churches shouldn't be political or be used as political tools but, as individuals and as a collective, should be activists, taking the lead in global and local issues where God's values aren't being upheld, and setting the agenda locally, nationally and internationally. They should be leading the way. United, together, as a body and a family and focused on the same thing.
What is happening to the established church today saddens me. Because that name we give it isn't what it really is.
I don't want to give it the name church anymore, because its beginning not to deserve it anymore. Its giving Jesus and His church - His people, that is - a bad name, a wrong name.
Its certainly not the church Jesus had in mind. Its not church, 'Jesus style.'