Image is absolutely everything to the Christian Church. When you picture the perfect Christian Church, what do you see?
As a young teenager, our youth group watched a video series during Wednesday Night services. It covered a little bit of everything and I did my best to try to take notes. Years later, I had the opportunity to take the same video series with a much more Biblical-proficient and knowledgeable individual. When we reached a particular section and talked it over, she told me about certain problems with the lesson as it was presented.
The lesson talked about how God built in the trinity into every relationship. For instance, the trinity consists of the father, the son, and the holy spirit. The ‘Church’ trinity consists of Christ, leaders, and the flock. The ‘Family’ trinity consists of Husbands, wives, and their children. The same relationship that exists between the Father and the Son is how Christ and the Leaders and the Husbands and Their Wives ought to have. The same relationship that exists between the Son the Holy Spirit is how the leaders and the flock and the wives and their children ought to have. The problem with this is that it has too narrow a definition of Church and Family. It also brings up awkward questions regarding the nature of the Trinity and equates people with (as) God in a way that’s bordering on idolatry. The trinity of family has been pushed as the ‘biblical’ way. For the same reason, the trinity concept of the church is flawed, as if there is one ‘right’ way to do family and one ‘right’ way to do church makes it seem that every other possible way is ‘wrong.’
But what about the non-traditional families? Individuals who are single, widows, or widowers? What about families that went through divorces and re-marriage? What about children who have just one or no parents at all or run-away teenagers? What about the husband or wife whose wife or husband isn’t Christian and refuses to go to Church? What about the children who are Christian who have parents that aren’t? What about married families with children who don’t follow the Christian rule book on family/marriage? In all of these cases the ‘trinity’ doesn’t exist.
So, do we take these square pegs and bash them with the Bible until they fit down the round hole of the Church? Do we cut at their corners until they do fit (sort-of?) Or does the church realize that they have it wrong and decide to make room for everybody, treating them with equal respect, attention, and kindness?