The late Mike Yaconelli was one one of those writers who puts interesting quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I’m reading “Messy Spirituality” right now and it looks like he was influenced by some of my favorite writers. Here are two that I really liked:
Our churches are filled with people who outwardly look contented and at peace but inwardly are crying out for someone to love them . . . just as they are – confused, frustrated, often frightened, guilty and often unable to communicate even within their own families. But the other people in the church look so happy and contented that one seldom has the courage to admit his own deep needs before such a self-sufficient group as the average church meeting appears to be – Keith Miller
He who thinks he is finished is finished. How true. Those who think that they have arrived,have lost their way. Those who think they have reached their goal, hae missed it. Those who think they are saints, are demons.- Henri Nouwen
Is it like that in your church? Is everyone that sure of their salvation? Are they so sure of what it takes to be saved, that, instead of wrestling in the mud with real life problems, they would rather (ad)minister ‘”clear” Biblical remedies? Just look at the above picture; a church so uptight that even the design of it’s pews scream “don’t invade my space!”
In Belfast there is a church, Ikon, that has no pews. Nor do they have an altar, stained glass windows or a belfry. The community meets primarily in pubs, a different one each week and rarely on Sunday. They take turns leading the worship service and they enlist local musicians and poets to participate. The lone fellow who always sits in the corner booth may be asked to assist with communion.
Sure, this may not be the vest venue for recovering alcoholics. But it looks to be a great way for getting those folk who are just a bit too “messy” for church exposed to the Gospel. It’s also a great way for everyone to benefit from getting to know people you would never find in a church pew. Of course, there is some risk in getting to know people who are different than we are. You can be assured of that.
Which model most appeals to you?