From Idealization to Reality: The Church as a Body

from In OUr OwnWords by 

The church is the body of Christ, not as a metaphor, but in reality. –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I used to have high hopes for the church. Idealistic even. But a curious thing happened to me on the way to idealizing the church. I spent some time in it. And I became jaded. I suspect in this I am not alone.

The picture that is forming of my two-and-a-half decades of time spent with the people of God spread throughout Northern California, Southern California, the Deep South and the Great Northwest looks more like twisted burning wreckage than anything else. The wreckage has been largely relational in nature. The logical center of my soul has been pleading with me for years now to give up the ghost.

Who has the emotional reserves to stay invested in a community with so much capacity for harm? Who in their right mind would give themselves to a community who can never seem to get it right? Who could keep caring for a people who can never stay focused on something so simple as loving their neighbor- let alone their enemy?

As the season of Lent draws near, the ancient governor Pontius Pilate will once again get drug through the mud in cathedrals and churches, large and small. Yet I am tempted to join him in washing my hands of this madness. Who will stand with Jesus at trial? Who will join him on the road to the cross?

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