Sometimes when I think about the Church, Christianity, or Christians, I picture a massive building complex with many white halls and many small white rooms – like a hospital with no patients. All of them are squeaky-clean. The people live and work there together. They wear the right clothing, the speak the right words, they act the right way towards one another and follow all of the rules. They’re a very isolated group, preferring to remain inside and ignoring the fact that there even is an outside.
Sometimes when I think about The Way or Christ-Followers, I picture a campground by a lake surrounded by a beautiful forest. There are people all over the place helping each other set up tents for the new arrivals, preparing meals, playing games together, singing songs, or exploring the nearby forest. They’re anything but clean, they wear all sorts of the wrong clothes, they don’t talk the right way, but always seem to find the best words to use. They recognize that there is always room for more people, and will often go out of their way to find them and invite them to join them.
I don’t understand how Christianity somehow ended up doing the exact same thing as the religion it broke away from, it doesn’t do it the exact same way, but it’s results are the same – follow the rules, live within the limits and you’ll be fine. I can’t picture that as what God had in mind – after all, Jesus was known for breaking every rule that the religious teachers taught were important.
Jesus spoke to people he wasn’t supposed to. (Samaritans, Women, Lepers, etc.) Jesus ate with people he wasn’t supposed to. (Tax collectors, sinners, etc.) Jesus performed the miracles of healing, curing, restoring, etc. on the wrong day of the week. (The Sabbath) Jesus broke the rules written by the religious leaders to show that God’s most important rules are to love God and to love one another.