As we wind the last few days off of the year 2014 we are getting our annual “best of” lists for the last year. Thom Rainer started his countdown of the top 14 posts of 2014 on his own blog, and being a relative newcomer, one of his previous posts caught my eye.
This was meant to be a humorous look at troubling trends within the Church, and we are warned that some of the words within might be convicting or “uncomfortable” to read.
The first thing that jumps out at me after reading the article is, though we are queued up for conviction with the introduction, what we are actually invited to do in the closing is to join in with our own snide remarks at this faceless and nameless church member.
This isn’t an invitation to introspection, it is permission to elevate ourselves and judge our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
After further rumination on the content of the blog there was something that jumped out at me even more. The very nature of article compares a church member to a football fan, so my initial connection was to compare my own zeal for the person of Christ to that of the football fan for his chosen team.
The problem is that, by and large, the blog post is not making that comparison.
While there are a few statements that point to contradictions in the way that the church member lives out their life following Christ, most of them actually have to do with their attitude toward the local church, as well as church services.
With that in mind, what are we being presented with?
We are being presented with a model where we are no longer members of the body of Christ, but fans of the institution that is the Church.
The issues that are being mentioned within the article are actually symptoms of the bigger problem. The people who are being brought into “the church” are being presented with something that they are to be a fan and supporter of and not with the reality which they are actually a part of.
I am not a big college football fan, so I am going to break the metaphor for a moment and point out that Andrew McCutchen is not a “fan” of the Pittsburgh Pirates the way that I am a fan of the Pirates. In fact most people would not refer to him as a fan at all. He is a “member” of the team.
That is the same reality that we live within as the body of Christ. It is impossible to be a fan of the body because we are members of the body.
If we are inviting people to witness a spectacle that we call “church” we are doing a disservice to those who are being called to be a part of the body.
I am a member of the body of Christ.
I am not a “fan” of the church.