How did we get it so wrong to applaud attendance of church meetings and mans endeavours and then declare it to be a community that genuinely loves and lays down its life for its members and the world?
Apart from this turning out to be a failed experiment (in my opinion) - even within our middle class bubble - this has certainly left us numb, impotent and irrelevant to the vast majority of this planet. Surely this is a sign that we have therefore lost touch with Love itself.
Why has so much of Christian history settled for a courtroom instead of a bridal chamber? It is really quite disturbing how this has corrupted the whole Gospel.
We pursue mammon and somehow attribute this to the favour of God on our lives. "Look!", we say. "See how God has blessed me with my new house, car and latest Mac. God has kept my kids safe and happy. God has been faithful because he's honoured my tithe and generous giving".
Is this how far we have fallen?
To associate God's love and favour in our lives to the trinkets we possess. Surely we have created nothing other than a god in our own image - one that will stroke our well polished idols. Now lest you think I'm throwing judgemental stones, I too will put up my hand and confess I've been complicit in these things. Tragically so. A lack of exposure to the true Gospel has left me shipwrecked.
I still don't think I realise the full extent of this…
There is a growing desperation in me (not sure I'm desperate enough) to find True Love again. To return to the Source. The Head. To knowing I'm a son (not through any making of my own). To be bowled over by the potency of Grace. I've lost connection (John 15:5) so am unable to bear fruit - fruit that will last anyhow.
I'm beginning to see how important it is to declare our bankruptcy and not hold onto our fig-leaves - pretending we're not naked. Surely God is aware of our state anyway and has predestined our status regardless. So why then do we practice pretense and somehow think this won't do us any harm? Declaring a crisis is necessary in my opinion. Freedom (sanity at the very least) seems to begin with this. God is not fooled so let's make every effort to quit this futile and ultimately fatal practice.
Now, the temptation to yank up the ol' bootstraps and somehow find a way back ourselves needs to be resisted. To quote Richard Rohr again — (referencing Philippians 3:9, 15):
Paul rightly redefines perfection as the gift of divine union rather than any kind of achievement or performance on our part. All we can do is acknowledge and cooperate with what God is already doing."
However, maybe a bigger and more glaring question - (which most of us try desperately to avoid) - is do we really want God? I think this is where I'm witnessing the mercy and grace of God in my own life - that he pursues me in his great love even when I'm loveless, desireless, faithless & riddled with doubt.
I just don't want to be found still resisting this Grace when my life, on this side of the curtain, comes to an end.