Finishing up in Virginia this weekend, and have had an awesome time. Today’s podcast reflects on some of the experiences of my first week here. I’m really excited about the folks that will be coming together this weekend. I’m staying in the home of some amazing people who have weathered a deep tragedy in their own lives and have come out on the other side more whole, alive, and free in Jesus. Their only daughter was murdered in the Virginia Tech massacre a number of years ago. Out of a despicable tragedy, God has worked great life and mercy. Plus we have people coming in tonight and tomorrow from all over.
Editing the first chapter of Finding Church this morning, I thought I’d lift these paragraphs to share with you. What if your discouragement is not due to the failures of humanity around you, but God inviting you into a wider and more fulfilling space?
If you share that same frustration I do in the disparity between the church as Scripture talks about her and what we see reflected in our religious institutions, you’re not alone. You’re standing in a long line that includes the likes of Francis of Assisi, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and nameless others who dared to ask the difficult questions and struggled with the uncomfortable answers. And just maybe your growing disillusionment is not the proof of his failing, but the evidence of his working.
What if he is actually behind this move away from institutionalized Christianity as he invites people into a simpler and more effective way to express the reality of his family in the world? What if that church has been growing in the world since the Day of Pentecost, and we’ve missed it not because it wasn’t there but because we were so distracted by human attempts to build our own version of church that we missed the more glorious church Jesus is building? I know that may be difficult to consider if you’ve only known church as the sanctioned institutions that use the label. But it may well be worth asking if you no longer feel at home in what you’ve believed to be the church.
The people I’ve met and the places I’ve been this past week only make me ever-more-certain this is so.