Here is an excerpt:
My name is church. I welcome the:
I welcome the:
I cannot shut my doors to the people who make you:
I encourage you to read it in its entirety and to even skim the comments. Usually I would say avoid reading comments in these sorts of things because: 1) they are often filled with hate and vitriol; and 2) most people who comment use false names or screen names so they in essence don’t have to own up for their often comments, thoughts, questions, and ideas. I am interested in having a conversation with someone who is willing to be transparent and honest about who they are, where they are, and why they are wondering what they are wondering.
In this case though, the comments speak to:
1) The obvious brokenness of congregations and the hurt and problems of past experiences.
2) The wide range of views and opinions regarding if a church is to be a welcoming place.
3) The challenge of being the church as a missional people and not just a physical place or community club.
In reading and re-reading, “Hello, My Name is Church,” I see a lot of what has been discussed in the previous posts in this series about welcome, being sought, and accompaniment. I see the good, the bad, and the ugly of past and current practices. I also see the hope of a redeemed and reconciling community.
I don’t sense a physical building out of this description of who or what the church is. Rather, I sense a community of people who, because they are people- created good but not perfect, and who are simultaneously saint and sinner, are gathered together. These gathered people have to wrestle with each other and themselves to discern what “does it mean” to be the Body of Christ in light of each person’s beautiful diversity and uniqueness as well as the unity that comes and calls us through Christ.
When worship begins with confession and forgiveness, the worshiping body acknowledges its shortcomings and failings before God. I think this posted poem begins in much the same way, acknowledging the short comings, but then moving towards the reconciling piece. The reconciling comes through the practice of forgiveness (and at least as far as I would theologically argue) through the sharing of the Word, the passing of the peace, and the welcoming and joining around the table of the feast. What do you think?
Does this post from “The Unappreciated Pastor” help add to our discussion? Does it shed light on what has been talked about? Does it raise more questions? (If so, what are you left wondering?)