While we find ourselves "way outside of the box" and "on the fringes" we have met with what seems like more than our fair share of opposition and misunderstanding along the way. Some have said that we are "to loose" and "lacking in organization."
I have found myself agreeing more and more with men like Brian McLaren, Alan Hirsch and Frank Viola (to name a few). The church as it is and has been for thousands of years has missed the mark. The church, for the most part, has left her first love in favor of forms and structures of institutional religion, which is what Jesus came to set us free from (among other things). There is no freedom in man made structures and forms. Jesus came to restore mankind's broken relationship with Almighty God and to invite each of us to enter into that personal relationship; that holy priesthood; with the living, triune God. There are many individuals who have given of themselves selflessly and sacrificially in service to God, myself included. For the most part, I would say that these same servants realize they are serving God and not an organization, yet much of that organizational structure has been ingrained into us through church tradition and culture. When I say that the church has missed the mark, I mean the church as an organization with business like structures; board of trustees, 501c not-for-profit status, etc.
What does it mean for those who choose to take Christ up on His invitation?
- It means living outside of the box of religious traditions, structures, organizations, etc.
- It means living on the fringes and reaching out with the love and grace of Jesus Christ to "the least of these."
- It means that my idea of what church is and was meant to be will be radically challenged as I draw closer to the One who died to set me free.
- It means that my new life in Christ will shake other people up. Some will get me and appreciate me, while the majority will accuse me of being nuts, weak, or out of touch with reality.
So, whatever people say or do, for me or against me, let it be for the sake of Christ and His kingdom, which dwells in me.