Thursday, September 15, 2005

"if the church is the bride of Christ she's a bit of a minger...!"

Chris Hinton asks a great question in the comments recently.
"Do you think the existing church can be salvaged? Or do we need a whole new start?"
It made me think of a quote that I can't remember from who "if the church is the bride of Christ she's a bit of a minger...!"

I'm not sure that is true...!?

I'm sure if we let church do what church does best, and be church, we wouldn't be looking around for the new bride, our eyes wouldn't be wandering - the problem is that I suspect that we don't know what the church does best.

We spend copious amount of time reading books, going to conferences, blogging, talking about our preconceived ideas of what the church should do best but have been too busy to notice that the bride we are 'showing to the world' is not having any transformational impact on the world, we haven't noticed that the bride we are 'showing to the world' is too busy preening herself, we haven't noticed that the bride we are 'showing to the world' is pre-occupied and self-absorbed. And all the time God's great redemptive story for creation gets squeezed into clever formulaes, brands and sub-brands, ecclesiatical propaganda and clever talk while we wonder how to be relevant. And all the time what the world wants and needs is for the church simply to stand up and be real.

I personally think the church is beautiful. Perhaps rather than start again, perhaps the concept of salvage is more a case of stripping away all that we have thought has made the church more appealing. Strip away the cosmetics to reveal the true beauty of church that exists in its very being. Strip away the layers of cracked foundation and discover what the church does best. Then sit back and be amazed at how appealing and beautiful the church can be.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gordon

Good thoughts again. I too believe we need the church and as you say functioning as it should. We have been away on retreat and I read while away the book "no perfect people allowed" it is written about the church that has the philosophy of "come as you are" instead of expecting people to come and be like them straight away. The concepts of taking people raw and with all their brokenness instead of expecting people to be alltogether before we allow them into our churches which is what has ruined many of our churches. A fully functioning "body of Christ" can love people into God's Kingdom and wholeness this side....



Anonymous said...

I find the use of image problematic; we don't court the bride, we are the bride of Christ, and it's completely ridiculous to suggest we need to 'salvage' it or start a new one. It's not our place; Christ claims us by his atoning death (no courtship required, but if there was courtship, it would be him courting us, not us courting ourselves or courting some vision of what we want to be), and that makes us (all) the bride right now, warts and all. We are not entitled to 'decide' that we need a new church, nor can we 'start over', nor can we 'salvage' the chruch, as Chris's comment suggests. He's the saviour, not us, not any human who may think they know what they church should be.

Gordon said...

James - looking back the use of the word 'courting' with a bride metaphor probably wasn't the cleverest!

Of course 'we' the church are the bride - I was thinking more in terms of what we are demonstrating as the bride as in showing off, in the sense of 'show court' not the sense of a relationship wooing!

So... wrong word - sorry - it was late - I published instead of saving it as a draft and reading it through :o)

Bill said...

Ian has been carring this discussion on as well ia a different (see link fro my blog). My question is this. What we willing to give up? What if the denominational trappings are the very thing that needs stripped away?