Haunted.

Adam Copeland is a haunted man, haunted by the memory of where he once was, who he once was, who interacted with hinm on the road to faith. The result? He doesn’t really go to church, even though he has a part in the church as institution. His article in the Christian Century considers this circumstance:

… frankly, the church of our future may not be as life-giving as those of our past. More likely than not, it will be in decline. It may be experimenting—badly—with ways to attract millennials. It may not have hit its budget target in years. It may struggle with mission beyond its doors. It may be somewhat uncomfortable, even painful, to visit and to join.

This closing thought has it almost right: we have to settle for the imperfect, rather than pursue the ideal. The point of having great memories of life-changing congregations is to treat them as the gift they are. They not only have shaped you to be the person you are, but also are a sort of gift to be shared with others. Keeping them only to yourself, refusing the messy and imperfect, does not keep the memory fresh it only curdles it.

And it’s Lent: what are we called to do but lay aside our own self for the sake of others? How can that be done alone. Only with the messy and imperfect can we have the mind of Christ who emptied himself, taking on the form of a servant. Only with the messy and imperfect can we open ourselves to being surprised by God’s goodness in the face of another.

Finally there’s the Table: how does one come to the Table except in the context of the messy and imperfect?

My recommendation? Talk with the custodian at the school, where does she go to church? Go there.

Adam Copeland, “I’m a ‘church leader’ who doesn’t really go to church” The Christian Century. March 28, 3029

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