So I was twittering and happened upon this blog post by Paul Mayers. The post puts forth the premise that many of the books out there on “being church” are pornographic: They titalate, they excite, they tempt, they fulfill fantasies and they may even provide some release. But ultimately, when we put down the book, are we truly satisfied?
As Paul says:
“I guess I’m just tired of the flood of book, blogs, podcasts, commentators who with voyeur like pleasure lift up the skirts to show me how wrong church is. How broken church is. How institutional church is. How hypocritical church is. How abusive, myopic, out of touch, conservative, liberal, self serving, fragmented, divisive church is. How really it is not what Jesus ever intended to be and quite frankly why he if he showed up he wouldn’t be darkening the door of those kinda places.”
“Those kinda places.”
You mean those corner suburban churches with buildings and budgets and programs and paid clergy?
Well that’s what I thought when I read this post. How boring. How vanilla.
I then let my mind wander a bit. I even fantasized about a vanilla church. The church is filled with women in pressed skirts and blouses, bustling to prepare some coffee and sandwiches for a visit from Jesus. I see the men in their khaki shorts and Polo shirts, neatly trimming the hedges to make the church presentable for Jesus. The pastors are wearing their best suits.
(Oh ho, hum!)
But then the fantasy “got away from me”. This is how it went:
Jesus comes to the church.
And he darkens their doorway.
He shakes the pastors’ hands.
He admires the shrubbery.
He gratefully accepts some coffee.
(Wait a minute, why isn’t he turning over tables? Why isn’t he spitting these folks out of his mouth?)
Instead he accepts their service, their hospitality. He is kind to the bustling group, saying to a woman who is fretting that the coffee isn’t hot enough: “You are worried about so many things, aren’t you?”, as he pats her on the shoulder.
He inquires after the senior pastor’s well-being, noting that the pastor is burdened with many things, but that the pastor should feel free to come to him with his burdens, and he (Jesus) will give that pastor rest.
(Then I snapped out of it.)
(Boy, that was weird.)
Does it make us angry to think of Jesus behaving this way? The idea that Jesus might desire intimacy and union with those who “just don’t get it”? Why doesn’t Jesus realize how vanilla these folks are? Maybe he just doesn’t know what he’s missing.
Maybe Jesus never read our porn.