Church

17Nov08

In America, Christianity is the dominating system of belief. We go to church. I feel like we are content with Church. I feel like we are satisfied with what church is in our culture today. I realized I have no idea what Church is for.

I used to believe that Church was just a pointless, mandatory thing God makes us do in order to get to heaven. It didn’t have purpose for me. Then, someone told me church was about fellowship–uniting together in the name of Christ. However, until very recently, I had yet to go to a service and feel real fellowship.

That very recent incidence occurred at the Catholic Worker House in Waterloo. About once a month they have a Mass in which a local priest comes in with some wine in a water bottle and some communion bread. Previously, I had always disliked Mass because it felt like dry religion. This was an exception. Prior to the service, we had fed some fifty to seventy people–the kind that Jesus said were the most blessed. It was an honor. Then we started the service singing a song that I recognized from my middle school days (“The Song of the Body of Christ”) which I never much cared about. I’ve never cared much about that song before it came alive that night. Then we prayed for our local and global community. And finally, we broke bread. Broken people breaking bread.

Very rarely do I feel alive at church. And I’ve been to many churches. I think the difference lies in that we really were the Body of Christ that night. We became his hands and feet and we reached out to a hungry community. To a rejected community. To beautiful, broken people. In church we talk about what Jesus would do. When we are Church we do what Jesus would do. More importantly, we do it out of Love and not to feel like we’re “more religious” than someone else or to fulfill some absurd religious obligation. Real Church is organic. Real Church is humble.

That was also the first Church I’ve been a part of where Jesus would have unquestionably fit in, rags, homelessness, and all.

At Real Church I met a few guys from Kentucky who were contracted to come up to Iowa to help with the rebuilding after the floods. Many of them got in bar fights and sent to jail and were unable to pay their ways home.

At Real Church I met the craziest looking man I’ve seen in a long time. He was wearing clothes that transcended scruffiness and had the craziest beard I’ve ever seen. All of which sharply contrasted with his new, bright orange NASCAR hat which was pretty awesome. I found out that he was there to serve and not be served, which surprised the Hell out of me. Literally. Then I found out that this man went to Berkley (an Ivy League school, if I recall correctly) and has been to all sorts of cool places including France and knows all sorts of stuff about what’s going on in Africa between dictators, rebels, etc.

At Real Church I met a woman a few generations older than myself who, along with her husband, felt hypocritical living the “normal life” or the “American dream” or whatever you want to call it whilst there were people cold, hungry, and alone. These people sold their house and came to live and “work” in the Worker House.

As a disclaimer, this place wasn’t Real Church because it’s backed by Catholic doctrine or because it’s ministry is better than that of other churches or anything else. Actually this place wasn’t Church at all. We were Church. And we were Church because we became the living Body of Christ–his hands and feet–who humbly reached out to a broken people whom society condemns. We were Church because we did all of this not so we could feel good about ourselves for fulfilling a sickly religious requirement or to appear more religious than the Jones’, but because we conquered ourselves. We saw a broken people and we couldn’t help but love them. We witnessed the love of God directed our way though we didn’t deserve it and we had to reflect it to other broken people. This is the nature of Love.

Here is more about Real Church: A Call to The Church. (this is the link for the following vid):

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One Response to “Church”


  1. 1 Conviction. Compassion. Jesus screwing up my life. Again. « ReLife

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