Christian churches in America are social clubs. We do a nice job of providing excuses for people to exercise their instincts as a social animals. There are bowling teams, softball teams, basketball teams, the ladies auxiliary, youth groups and various boards on which to serve. We put on nice pot-luck dinners and serve coffee after worship services where members gather to discuss everything, except the content of the holy ritual they just attended. We discuss the sermon by noting it wasn’t too boring, but the delivery could still use some work. We do a good job administering the rites of passage. Baptisms, confirmations, marriages and funerals legitimize our existence as religious institutions.
Indeed, the church should be a comfortable place where the soul can find rest and a sense of belonging. But it should also be a place where our human foibles are constantly challenged, where spiritual growth is front and center, where comfort does not become complacency, where the status quo is continually examined and questioned. Yes, like Jesus did.
While we may be well acquainted with the basic concepts of our particular denomination, what isn’t clear is how they apply to “my” life – family, neighbors, co-workers, community, state, country and planet. Are we transformed by our church experience to deal with these issues as the “New Beings” we’re supposed to be? Does the Gospel message really speak to the human soul, or is it just platitude – without any real practical application to life’s complexities. What we understand on Sunday gets lost in the fog of daily life. That’s because what we profess to believe has not been internalized in a way that raises our consciousness and deepens our commitment to living lives of holiness (wholeness = a fully integrated body, mind and soul).