What is Wrong with (The Church) Us?

This evening provided a rare, delicious treat. All our ducklings (even the college kid) gathered around our table plus my sweet nephew, Jackson! Desiring to keep the family fire burning, I transitioned into the living room searching for some March Madness. No Duke game, of course, but how about Florida and Virginia! 

Maybe that's interesting enough to gather all (OK most)...Real talk: maybe some around the tube. Yeah, they (we) will be on their (our) phones, but at least we are in the same room (on phones) enjoying the same March Madness white noise background. 

I flipped to channel 1185 at The Push Up Contest frame of this commercial. After habitually scrolling through Facebook first like I was going to miss something earth shattering in the 8 seconds it took me to find the Florida vs Virginia game.  (There, Kirby family, I admitted it. I need to work on my obvious infatuation with social media). 

 At first I thought there was a new CrossFit Gym in town. It had my interest! I quickly realized this is too high quality of a production to be a local commercial (no offense), maybe a commercial for a chain of CrossFit Gyms? Maybe a new chain of CrossFit Gyms is coming to Tiny Town! I watched curiously. And then it happened. The product placement.

All the warm fuzzy feelings I was having about finally checking out a local CrossFit Gym melted. What remained was a Michelob ULTRA commercial.  Really?! I'm not a beer drinker, never got into the taste of horse piss (The whole "acquired" taste thing just didn't happen for me). But, if I was, I don't think I would drink MU. (No offense to any Ultra fans out there!) 

I was absolutely floored by the community feel this 1-minute beer commercial evokes. Using the CrossFit community angle is genius. (That's why the Mad Men of the world make millions.) The cultish loyalty. The deep sense of community: These people are connected! A REAL brother and sisterhood!  Everyone reaching for their individual best. Yet, a genuine sense of being a part of something greater than just yourself. Raising the bar! Then helping a sista leap over it! A family! On a similar journey bound by a common goal of being a little bit better, a little bit stronger, a little bit faster than they were a day ago.  Held together by a continual outpouring of blood, sweat and tears. I would be remiss to fail to mention their secret little insider "WODs" that keep them connected. And, of course, "Everybody knows your name!" I was so flippin inspired by this notion! And immediately my mind turned to "the church"--big "C." And I thought...WTH! 

What is wrong with us? We sure have the insider words but what else??

I wish the church felt this way. Why is this not the way church feels? Wait, seriously fam, this is the way the church "should" feel! 

A community bound by the body and blood of Jesus Christ. A place where everyone is striving, together, to grow stronger in their spiritual walk. Training the body is great, but pales in comparison to the benefits you could reap from a tone spiritual body. Yet, we gather each week in our flabby spiritual frames, maybe trying to tone up a tad bit, but certainly NOT putting that ugly face grind on! Where's the sweat?! Where's the TriHard! Where's the presence? Where's the dedication? Where's the growth? Where's the We are Family feeling?!

We gather weekly for an hour (maybe, but probably more like 1-2 times a month or less), put on that "We are at church you better act cool kids" smile and say, 

"Good morning, how are you?"

 "Fine thanks, you!" 

"Great! Want a cup of coffee?" 

(NOTE: I'm proud of the work our Hospitality Team and Coffee Crew do welcoming guests, but was convicted by a young widow's gut-wrenching story that went viral last week: Why The Church Doesn't Need Anymore Coffee Bars)

"Sure! Love your shoes!"


We lie. We hide. We fake it. 

We go out of obligation. We drink our coffee and compliment each others' shoes. 

Because for some reason we can't admit that things just aren't OK. That we are seriously out of shape. That we haven't been putting the time into growing stronger in our faith, getting sharper in our understanding of the narrow path. We don't really know this God we claim to love and serve and we don't know how to fix that. And maybe we really don't care. 

We are afraid. And doubtful. And can't really see how THIS is adding any value to our "real life." 

Because if we are really honest we are barely holding it all together fueled by too much coffee and too little Jesus. It's just a whole lot of living outside of the margins:
Our finances. Our calendar. Our relationships. And our little (or monstrous) habits we don't want the Church Ladies to know about keep us overbooked. It takes all we can to juggle "real" life, how CAN we do this Church thing, too? So, we just opt to fake it. 

We don't realize we are (literally) starving to death for spiritual community:
We need confidants. 
A journey partner. 
Prayer warriors. 
A group to actually dig into the scripture with. 
A safe space to open our closets and let someone see those skeletons.
We crave belonging. 
A place where we find forgiveness.
Someone, for God's sake, willing to slow down and run beside us when we fall back (if only we would have the guts to admit we are out of breath and can't keep pace).

 We desperately need a real Jesus community bound by a common goal: to grow in our Christian faith, together! What a novel idea! That's what The Church is "supposed" to be. 

When we welcome a new member by Water and the Spirit we, as a church, promise to God to: 
Surround these persons with a community of love and forgivenessthat they may grow in their trust of God, and be found faithful in their service to others. We will pray for them, that they may be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.

A community of love that grows faithfully together into true disciples that leads to REAL life! 

Yes, I'll take a piping hot cup of that. Bring it on, Church! Serve it up. Let's Go! 


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