We want church to be like….. Leicester City… the underdog that takes on the rest and wins – but we might be too institutional
We dont want church to be like BHS – the dated brand that ‘no one goes to’ – but we’ve a sneaky feeling we might be
We want church to be like a Cafe – open, accessible, friendly- but not when it comes to swapping people on the coffee rota
We want church to be like the new testament church – subvertive, small, new, fresh – but that was then, this is now
We want the church to be Holy – separated, apart from, sacred – but we’re fallen people, and all exist in culture as well, so what might Holy actually mean? and keeping that up 7 days a week..
We want church to be like God, a community – Koinonia, Communion, and it is and it might be – but is it always in its behaviour, how do its decisions get made, and sometimes we dont know each others name.
We want the church to be Like God, like Holy, like Leicester City, like the new testament church, like a Cafe…
But the reality is that the church might only be like these things only a little bit. The reality might also be that the church might also be full of fallen people, and be full of people who travel in and through culture, and cultural forms of Christianity at the same time.
The problem is not that the metaphors are incomplete, because obvious God isnt incomplete. The problem is that the metaphors become blueprints to knock the church over a stick with.
The reality might be that the church is one never ending experiment, that exists on the stage of the world, with God directing the play. Its isn’t to be comparative, its job is to perform acts of local theatre. It is to be faithful in the spaces it is in, not spaces other people through history are. Faithful to God who prompts, guides and cues the church to new performances, in the space of the world where both being practical and prophetic are realistic actions for its performance, alot of what it might be, and could be doing more of already.
So, lets not get hung up about what the church isn’t meant to be, or the unrealistic expectation of the church that doesn’t exist, there’s enough beating up about the church going on without it being done from the inside.
The church as part of Gods overall plan is one that calls people and communities to redemption for the transformation of the world. Its worth being part of Gods ongoing actions in the world, than trying to replicate Gods being, or that of Leicester City.
Further thoughts from: Healy, Church, the world and the Christian life ( 2000), Vanhoozer, Drama of Doctrine (2005).