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Jerusalem

Even though I have long been a part of it, I struggle deeply with the idea of the institutional church. Quite frankly, I believe that Jesus would be uncomfortable and quite possibly insenced if he walked into the middle of pretty much any organized church today. He would be so confused about big buildings and offices, professional employees, budget systems, and $20,000 projection systems. And to be fair, I think he would be equally weirded if he walked into your little poor country church. Size and complexity isn't the issue, it's this strange organizational system we've created that we've put an insane amount of faith into.

Right in the bull's eye of my thinking along those lines has, for a long time, been Christian university. These monstrous institutions we've created have in my minds eye been the giant fat ugly pigs that the church has created and worshipped as the protector and sustainer of young people's churchiness, and therefore their salvation.

BUT, as I've said before, I have brought myself to one of those institutions, and partly because I want to break down that bias and see things with a little more of God's eyes, and not my own (which I know have been highly influenced by a string of negative experiences with Christian schools and some very spiritually unhealthy Christian school supporters). All of that intro is to get to this:

Today I went to the first meeting of my GST mentoring group. I was describing some of my feelings about these things and what I hope to overcome when one of the older guys just simply said: "You are in Jerusalem."

Hmm. I've heard that phrase used before many times, but now it seems to have a different meaning. The early Christians did, in fact, have a place like this... a place where their organizing principles really took shape... a place that the Christians journeyed to be in their "bubble" (as much as it existed then)... a place that served as a hub of people...

I have lot more thinking to do on this (about 3.5 more years at least), so we'll see what happens to my thinking during that time. Maybe instead of wanting to come in with a bulldozer and scatter all these "Christians" about to where they are actually facing the world and the reality of their faith, I should see a place like Abilene for what God is actually being able to accomplish, despite whatever disappointments he may with the institution we have created.


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