All the Poor and Powerless

Had a great conversation with a friend and fellow sojourner tonight about this really big question that I’ve been pondering for some 22 years or so now, that is ‘what is church’?  The sub questions are: Is it a weekly event?  Is it a place?  Is it public space?  Is it private space?  Is it a personal experience?  Is it a political affiliation?  Is it comfortable? Is it pleasing? Is it tethered to something historical? Is it relevant? Is it therapeutic? Is it justice oriented? Is it biblical? Is it . . .?  Is it . . . ?  Is it . . . ?

If you have been one of my students, you have had to deal with one of my mantras which is ‘church is not someplace you go, it’s a people you belong to.’  In my years of asking this question, that’s been one of my conclusions for many reasons.  But I would go further now and say more conclusively I think is that church is something you ‘opt in out of a place of need’.  Kind of like an AA meeting.  Your place of being poor and powerless finds resonance in others who find themselves in a place of being in need and as a people you seek the source of your being, that is the Creator.  That Creator is ‘holy’, by definition he is ‘other’.  To pursue something or someone ‘other’ is not a controlled strategy, it is the end of your self.

I’m not really interested in being comfortable, entertained or relevant.  I can get that at the local theater complex.  I need church to be alternative to my cultural surroundings.  I need it to be tethered to something outside of the problems and trappings of my day but yet immersed in the passion to bring healing to the brokenness around me.  I need church to be ‘in’ and yet not ‘of’ this world.

What is church?  . . . it is for the poor and powerless.  Welcome.

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