“Following Jesus As A Following Church”

This week’s Newsweek cover story is written by Andrew Sullivan who questions the validity of the church, while still following Jesus. The article’s title is splashed across the front cover of the magazine: “Forget Church; Follow Jesus”.

Sullivan makes several good points in the article about the politicizing of Christianity by the religious right and liberal left; the fleecing of the TV flocks by tele-evangelists; the institutional nature…and he’s right…to a point! It’s like saying that the molesting of children by Catholic priests is bad, therefore we should do away with all Catholic priests. The sad truthfulness of the first part does not mean the conclusion of the second part should be made.

Creating a “battle” during Holy Week does a lot to sell magazines, and inflame the passions of advocates and opponents. Good marketing strategy, but not necessarily the right course of action. It’s kind of like when I came home from the store last week with a new bottle of salad dressing. If I had been asked, before I could safely stow the bottle in the cupboard, why I bought a new bottle of salad dressing I would have had to reply “Because I went to buy bread!” The bottle of ranch dressing was not connected to buying bread, but it was connected to the reason for the visit to the store in the first place.

It seems to me that the church has lost part of its way, and is in the process of rediscovering it. That rediscovery is intimately connected to the original reason- to be a community of followers of Jesus. Faith is not about forgetting the church. It’s about following Jesus as a church. It’s the interconnected lives sharing stories and experience about their journeys.

That journey as following communities is filled with stumbles, mutterings, and banging into one another; but it’s also filled with deep soul-satisfying discoveries, new life and renewal, and dances out of restored lives.

It takes me back to the order of Benedictine Sisters who live at the spiritual retreat center north of our city. There is such rhythm in the midst of their community that my soul still resonates with the peace I experienced there a year ago.

The church as an institution has Titanic written all over it; but the church as a vessel, a follower-ship,  is steered by the hope of Christ, and the wind of the Spirit.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Faith, The Church, Uncategorized

2 Comments on ““Following Jesus As A Following Church””

  1. “The church as an institution has Titanic written all over it; but the church as a vessel, a follower-ship, is steered by the hope of Christ, and the wind of the Spirit.”

    Amen! What a great quote. Thank you for your thoughts and insight. Following the church only leads to other people, Following Christ leads to Holiness.

  2. A. Dumois Says:

    W.W. I agree with your post here. We seem to have this idea in the western church that following Christ is an individual endeavor, when ,in fact, Christ established the CHURCH. We were never meant, nor should we, try to go it alone.

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