Saturday, June 4, 2011

If We are the Body....

Hey Folks! This is the first commentary like post of the summer! I'm pretty stoked! Are you? I hope so! 

Ok lets get started. 

So something that's been on my mind is the Body of Christ. What does that actually mean?

What is it?
Is it a physical body?
What makes up the actual body?

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that WE in fact are the body. We're all different but together we are one. Its quite insane to think about really. Just the thought that I am a part of the same body as someone in London, England just tickles me pink! (I have this strange facination with England...not quite sure why but I'm convinced that I am actually British...LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!)  One way that is so very symobolic of Christ's people being one body is when we take Communion. Think about it. Jesus said the bread was his body and the cup was his blood. When we partake in communion together we are in a sense, joining his body. So when the people of Christ all do something that joins to something, they join together guessed it one body. Pretty cool right?

Now, heres the kicker. Just because we're all one body doesn't mean that we all have to be the same. Take your own body for example. There is not one thing on your body that looks or acts the same as another part. Yet your body still FUNCTIONS perfectly (depending on how you treat it of course...put down that fatty snack...thats right. Go gfet a glass of water...).  Its the same way with the body of Christ. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 puts it perfectly:

[12] For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV)

So with that in mind, knowing that we are all one body, and knowing that we are all different, why do we try and act like we're not a part of the same body? Why do we pretend that because someone someone is a part of a different sect of our lifestyle called Christianity, that they are somehow wrong in that particular sect and therefore are actually not a Christian.  Or they are the wrong  kind of Christian.  Protestants hate the rigid Catholics, and Pentecostals are really big on tounges, the Catholics think they're both idiots, and everybody thinks the Emergents are completely off. We take what makes us different, and reject those whose differences don't line up with ours (does that make sense?)

When we do this we break a part the body, and ultimaly the Church, because the church is not a building, the Church is not four walls. It is not a place we GO to. The Church are the people who are gathered together which is reason the building exists. So if I'm an Alliance Kid (We're Protestant with a touch of Nondenominational) and I meet a fellow who's Eastern Orthodox, 

Or Lutheran
Or Presbyterian
Or Pentecostal
Or Baptist, Weslyan, Catholic, or even a self proclaimed Emergent,

We should be able to sit down with one another and recognize that we belong to the same body.

In his book Becoming the Answer to our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals, Shane Claiborne says this

Many Christians are concerned about the breakdown of nuclear families (and rightly so), but we often just accept the breakdown of God’s family. We live like teenagers in a high school cafeteria-some of us eating at one table (our table), while others at another table (quite often, the soup kitchen’s table). What we miss is the gift of God’s new economy.  And with it, our brothers and sisters on “the other side.” (Claiborne 39)

Claiborne reminds us that in our family structure, excluding others is not an option.  We cannot keep others from eating with us of because their doctrine is different from ours; it goes against the very base of our creation. We were not created to exclude; we were created to include.

When we allow ourselves to separate and break apart the body, the result is often catastrophic. We spend all of our time fighting with each other and we forget what we are actually called to do on this earth as the body, and that is to:

Go into the world
Making disciples of ALL NATIONS(ooo hurts doesn't it)
Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-19)

...Are we doing that? Seriously when you look at the Church today is that what is truly being done on a daily basis? Or are we too busy calling each other heretics and watching Fox News (My amazing soon to be wife just pointed out that I am doing the exact same thing in this blog post...I don't deny it one bit, I am takling to myself too...remember this blog is just me getting out my thoughts...) 

In the song If We are the Body by the band Casting Crowns, the chorus goes like this;

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Church, this is what we need to ask ourselves. Why are we not being the physical body that is replacing Jesus? We need to step up, put our differences aside and join together as the church,

as the body
as the bloodline of Christ

and go to all the nations proclaiming the Gospel, healing the sick and show the world, that the body of Christ is not millions of different people, with millions of different styles and thoughts, but we are a people that are here to finish the work that Christ started and to bring as many people to the kingdom as brothers and sisters as we can. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Churched" Book Review

          Churched follows the spiritual journey (or lack there of) of Matthew Turner. Matthew’s family goes from being United Methodists into the world of the Fundamentalist Baptists. Turner depicts life as a church boy. Stuck in Sunday School and Other services with a Pastor who preached a colorful view of Hell, Fire, and Brimstone. As turner goes through life his head is filled with things to think as a Christian. He grows up thinking about what it means to be a Christian and is ready to go toe to toe with anyone who thinks differently. As he grows turner begins to ask more and more questions, and realizes eventually that Christianity is not a head game. There is no perfect formula to being a follower of Jesus.
          I found this book to be excellent. Growing up a church boy it was easy to relate with. I myself had to do some growing and questioning and I’m still doing the same. Through out the whole book, I was hoping that Matthew eventually made it out of IBBC alive. What I found most comforting is this. God, no matter what, shows his glory. No mater how much people try and twist and squish and falsify who he is, God lets his children know he loves them and in a truthful way. In Matthew’s case it took God taking him out of a situation that not only screwed him up, but  had he stayed would have eventually led to him screwing up the lives of many others.