On April 10th, I sent out the following tweet:
I'm thinking of doing a long series of blog posts (more than I can tweet thoughts on) entitled "What Christians Get Wrong." No attack or insult. A space of curiosity and learning (which hopefully feels familiar by now). What topic would you include?
There was a good response, and each tweet showed a desire for the church to be better. I especially appreciated the ones who pushed back against the idea of "wrong." Sometimes I choose particular words because I don't give it enough thought. Other times, I realize a few might misunderstand, but the majority will know what I'm asking. Words are tough, even when you're a writer. These tweet responses and this series don't point necessarily to a wrong thinking so much as an incomplete one.
1) “my” free will and personal salvation
2) ritual & piety above reconciliation & service
Why do we get these “wrong”?
Because it’s hard to keep in mind that it’s not about the individual vessel, it’s about the Spirit in the “body of Christ.”
The below guest post is an excerpt taken from Shaky Ground: What to Do After the Bottom Drops Out ©2022 Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY 10016
"It's in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians Paul talks about being the body of Christ. One of my favorite metaphors used to describe us as Christ-followers. He follows this idea up with what many recognize as the love chapter. Although we often hear the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians at weddings, it was written as a descriptive for the behavior members of the church at Corinth, and every church since, should exhibit. Our love should not be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Rather, here’s what love within the body of Christ looks like:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
Christianity is never about us alone. As Christ-followers, whether or not we find ourselves part of a regular worshiping congregation, we are members of the body of Christ. Our faith actually has fluidity to it, flowing back and forth between individual practice and communal involvement.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Think how weird it would be to see an eyeball walking around on its own. This is how silly it’s become in my mind, that we would put man-made limitations on which of Jesus’s followers are in the body, and which ones aren’t. Is it complicated? You bet. Are we still one body of Christ? We are. Is an individual part of the body if they’ve stopped attending church for any number of reasons? Paul says so.
If the foot would say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. (1 Corinthians 12:15)
When I spend time being intentionally aware of God’s presence, I’m a better member of the body of Christ. I partner better with the members of my local church and I’m a better representative in the community and online. As the Spirit makes lasting changes in me, it should be evident to everyone I come into contact with, and not just everyone, but the very world we live in. Ultimately, God’s redemption includes all of God’s creatures, and this planet we live on, and when I’m attuned to how God is at work in the world, creation care becomes all-encompassing."
Pre-order a copy of Shaky Ground: What to Do After the Bottom Drops Out by clicking on the image below: