Often when people think of church, they think of a group of religious people that have it together. Or worse, they think of hypocrites and judgmental people who feel better than everyone else. Sadly, many churches do give off that religious, better-than-you vibe. At TAC, we want to be a place where it’s ok to not be ok, where it’s ok to be on a journey, to be a work in progress.
When religion reigns in a church there becomes a set of rules, behaviors, ritual, appearances and words that are a standard for acceptance. It’s possible to be successful or unsuccessful at church, based on how you are at keeping the rules, saying the right prayers, wearing the right clothes, standing at the right time, etc. Religion tells us to clean up our act and be better so that we can fit in at church with other perfect people. In this environment, people will naturally put on a performance to appear like they have it together when they don’t. We become actors. We also become proud and judgmental as we compare our religious performance with the performance of others. This is how religion kills gospel community.
The gospel is altogether different. The gospel invites us on a journey, welcomes us as we are and speaks words of grace instead of judgment. We are not a perfect people (not even close!). We don’t have it together. We aren’t morally superior. We aren’t clean, tidy and proper. We are a broken people, on a journey together towards Christ. We are a struggling people living in pursuit of the grace of Christ.
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to admit weakness, struggle, hurt, doubt and sin. That’s the point of the cross. That’s why Jesus died for us. If we didn’t struggle, doubt, hurt and sin, we wouldn’t need the cross, we wouldn’t need Jesus. If it was all ok, Jesus could stay in heaven while we continued being good without him.
We’re a struggling, hurting, limping, yet hopeful community. We’re a people who have not arrived, but are still journeying towards Christ. We’re a people who are well aware of our own sinful failings and God’s redemptive grace. We’re a community of broken people who are finding healing in God’s grace.
We’re not perfect. We haven’t arrived. But we are on a journey. If you also aren’t perfect, we’d welcome you to journey with us. It’s always nice to have company on a journey.
(originally written for Delve on October 31, 2010)