Monday, May 30, 2011

The Messiness of Faith Communities

Some of you may be spending this Memorial Day missing the communities of your younger years.  Maybe you're yearning for a past time when your faith community wasn't so messy, when people understood what was right and what was wrong and everybody behaved like they were supposed to and if they didn't, they were secretive about it.

As you can probably tell from my tone, I don't miss those days--in fact, I'd be surprised if they ever existed, at least in the rosy glowing tones that people describe.

Our pastor yesterday stressed that faith communities are always messy--something to say when people tell you that they don't believe in organized religion.

Our pastor reminded us that Jesus prefers messiness:

"Jesus, of course, always preferred messiness to simplicity.
Always preferred trouble, to a false peace that does not include justice.
Built a faith of community, not the individual.
And no doubt that he suffered for it.
No doubt he died for the sake of the community that he came to proclaim.
It flat out scared people."

It should scare us.  True community means that people know me inside out, all my faults and complexities.  In an ideal world, they'd love me, despite my faults.  My fretful brain worries about rejection.

But Jesus doesn't let us off the hook.  No, we're to love everyone.  Not just the people who are easy to love.  Everyone.  Even the people who are out to destroy us.

And if we're truly walking with Jesus on The Way, people will be looking for ways to destroy us.  But we love them, regardless.

I would rather hang out with people who believe exactly the same as I do.  But that's not my mission.  It's not yours either.

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