|Tree in Monroe|
It was 1990. I was teaching at a theological seminary in Singapore. Albert Kang, one of the leaders of the seminary, was sitting with me at a “steamboat” luncheon (aka “hot pot”), when he leaned towards me and said words that have never left me: “The Church is a movement, not an institution.” Oh yeah. That’s right!
“Church” is not about committees arguing over whether to carpet the sanctuary and, if so, what kind and color the carpet should be. Real “Church” is not about maintenance. Jesus did not come to maintain the status quo. Real “Church” moves and flows, led by the Holy Spirit, changing direction as the Spirit guides. “Institutional” churches are dying precisely because they are that; viz., “instutional.” 40 years ago I signed up for a Movement, not an Institution. As far as I can tell I’m still in the Jesus Movement, the now-moving of God’s Spirit, and it is exhilarating!
None of the original 12 ever complained that following Jesus was boring. They did complain of other things, but never that. The thought “What is He doing now?!” did often come into their minds. Re. “boredom”: “boredom” is not having nothing to do; “boredom” is finding no meaning in what one is doing. A Christian could be on every church committee there is and be very bored with it all, as well as very burned-out-spiritually-deep-fried-to-a-crisp.
I like what one 35-year-old Jesus-follower from California said re. this: “Christians have become political, judgmental, intolerant, weak, religious, angry, and without balance. Christianity has become a nice Sunday drive. Where is the living God, the Holy Spirit, an amazing Jesus, the love, the compassion, the holiness? This type of life, how I yearn for that.” (In David Kinnaman, unchristian, 35)
Me too. Put down the books about Jesus and return to the Big 4 – Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John, and you’ll have a Barthian epiphany as the strange new world of Jesus opens up before you.