Did You Hear About That Church Where They Tried Real Hard To Be Like Jesus?

Did you hear about the rich church where nearly the whole membership was white, middle, and upper middle class?  And most of the more influential members and leaders were made up of professionals: lawyers, doctors, engineers and politicians with high office?  And they meet in a beautiful, ornate, and rather large, chapel with stained glass windows reaching high up to the vaulted ceiling?  And the orchestral choir is made up of professional musicians enjoying world-class acoustics in their million dollar sanctuary?

I mean, so far, yeah, you heard about this place.  Right?

But I am talking about the one where since early summer the pastor has been leading the flock to consider more seriously how they can be like Jesus, to imitate him in love and sacrifice.  So they spent three months studying how Jesus touched lepers, fed hungry people, forgave sins, healed the sick, championed the cause of the poor, and then spent three more months analyzing how Jesus purposely praised the humility of others, practiced humility, and then actually sacrificed himself in utter suffering and humiliation as an act of love for completely undeserving people who turned on him, spit on him, killed him, and when it was all done were just utterly bewildered by his kindness.  Did you hear about that one?

I mean, so far, yeah… maybe.  Maybe you heard about it.  But come to think of it, maybe not.

But I am talking about that church made up of all those professionals, spending so much time in study and meditation on the sacrificial love of Jesus that come the Sunday before Thanxgiving when the temperatures outside were plummeting, they decided to actually be like Jesus.  ‘

So they opened up the chapel, put on a dozen pots of coffee, started making breakfast burritos in the kitchen like an assembly line at Ford Motor Co. while deacons began driving church vans and oversized SUV’s around town looking for homeless people to bring to church.  And then in shifts, the vans and SUV’s began dropping off the needy who were welcomed inside where they were met with coffee and food, with warmth and hospitality!  And the house got so packed full with the poor that the church members could no longer physically fit in the building with the guests, and the crowd reminded them of that fisherman’s hut in Capernaum where the four friends ripped the roof open so they could get their paralyzed friend lowered down to Jesus.  So the church members dragged out blankets and took seats on the frozen lawn while the deacons ushered the homeless into the sanctuary where as honored guests they could enjoy the music in warmth.  And the sound system deacon wired speakers out on the lawn so the whole assembly, both inside and out, could join in the song.

And the church thus tried real hard to be like Jesus!  The church sacrificed deeply to love the poor, the stranger, the hungry, the thirsty, and in showing hospitality may well have entertained angels unaware!

Yeah.  Did you hear about THAT CHURCH?

No???

Why not?

A church like that would make the papers, wouldn’t it?

I mean wouldn’t the papers be printing GOOD NEWS if a church really tried to be like Jesus?

5 comments

  1. Spy Vs Spy · November 18, 2018

    Papers, evening news, etc. I doubt that the media would likely see it as newsworthy.

    Like

    • Agent X · November 18, 2018

      To be fair, I am not a newspaper editor nor a publicist nor a master of publicity stunts. So maybe you are right. Maybe the papers wouldn’t cover it.

      But. I have read a lot of N.T. Wright and multiple times he talks about how religion and religious items make the news and somethings about how they become attractive and so forth. Among them, he criticized the Jesus Seminar from years ago for using colored beads to vote whether they thought a passage of Scripture, a saying of Jesus, was authentic or not. Colored beads.

      Why colored beads?

      To get attention. Wright claimed that a group of liberal religious scholars seeking attention would call up a religion editor at the local paper who is sitting around bored and desperate for something to print in between Christmas and Easter celebrations, waiting to pounce on a story about the local vicar and a prostitute or a priest with the altar boys, and not getting much to chew on. But the Jesus Seminar folx say there will be a public meeting/debate among leading Bible scholars about the authentic parts of the Bible, and they use colored beads: red, pink, white and blue to vote on how likely each scholar feels a passage is authentic or not. Very likely, somewhat likely, unlikely, and absolutely not!

      Thus I think it is more than POSSIBLE that in a town like Lubbock, if First Baptist or First United Methodist, or Broadway Church of Christ were to do something of this kind of thing, the religion editor at the paper in this town would jump at the chance to cover it.

      But maybe that’s just me.

      Like

  2. Spy Vs Spy · November 18, 2018

    Didja know that American religious history recounts that American Christian Churches that permitted blacks to attend (back before and after the Civil War coming down into the Jim Crow era and with remnants of such still with us…relegated minorities to the back or to their balcony seating then later built separate usually smaller, nearby alternate assembly facilities or churches.

    In Lubbock the dirty, smelly, unkempt Street folk have “their worship facility” just across the street form a huge well appointed facility. “Their kind will be more comfortable there.” O, by the way…it’s not a church technically it’s a 501c3 or parachurch organization. Just saying.

    Like

  3. Debi · November 19, 2018

    I started to get really excited until I got part-way through and realized it didn’t really happen. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · November 19, 2018

      O Wow!

      Thanx for this response, Debi. I hate to “like” it except that it comes so very near expressing feelings I have too.

      I joined the assembly yesterday where we sang songs, the words of which indict us since we sang about opening our hearts and doors about all the lavish saving love we experience in God and all that, but then we stop short of sharing it. Same with the sermons. As I have said before, we TALK a good talk alright. The things said there are amazing. The words of inclusivity, of unity, of grace, of open hearts and open doors… I mean, its all exactly the KIND of talk that is necessary, and leads right to the threshold of unspeakable grace and love that confounds the world.

      But then we just refuse to take the next step and WALK the talk.

      I mean there is a homelessness shaped hole in it.

      There is a party shaped hole in it.

      If you stand back and look carefully at the picture created, the missing piece is well defined by the shape of all the wonder, grace, and love surrounding that whole that no one puts the last piece in.

      And I get excited too. Totally jazzed. But then someone comes along and mashes a When Helping Hurts puzzle piece into that place and totally distracts the rest of the picture being created. It’s a piece that has much of the general shape and size, but isn’t really a fit and actually doesn’t belong to this puzzle at all anyway. But the temptation is to mash it in and make it work.

      It’s a little like reading this post and thinking it really happened at first only to get the nagging feeling confirmed at the end that it never really did.

      Thanx for this comment. In fact I think there is a dynamic in all this which might be worth exploring. What are the demons/who are the demons that play this way with us? After all, it is the 666 instead of the 777. Just 3 ones away from perfection, but so disastrously not holy!

      And after joining the assembly in this week in and week out for years on end, it gets to drag on my spirit.

      Oh… if we could just take the next step….

      Liked by 1 person

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