I still struggle with the language. So often do I hear, “I’ll see ya at church,” or “I forgot my _____ at the church,” or “Meet me at the church at 7,” or still “let’s do church”. I know these are common phrases and may seem normal at first, but let’s give a little definition to the word.
Jesus introduces the word into action in Matthew 16:18. He says, “18 Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” This sounds like something that is going to battle. Something that is alive. Something that moves and shakes, and rescues people from the gates of hell. This does not sound like four walls, a roof, a sound system, an HD projector, a band, or anything else that makes up what we call ‘church’.
I understand the necessity of a building for a local church organization, but I don’t understand how that building came to define it. Or why we have to build buildings that “look like a church”. I even had a discussion with a man at a coffee shop one time who argued with me what a church is meant to look like, and that we only have one that really looks like a church in our city (oddly enough he does go there).
I’m not here to bash the church as a whole. I work for one. I’m here to challenge the language and way we do it.
I believe the church is many people that love Jesus and work to live out the lifestyle he lived through sacrificially giving of ourselves to show this love to others. I get so sick of the overuse of the word church. To me it’s like irreverent use of God’s name, why? Well If you talk bad about my wife it will upset me, so why would we redefine and reuse a word that is used as the Bride of Christ. I think this upsets Jesus. I know I’m fighting a few hundred years of linguistics, and I will probably lose this fight, but I need to make it known.
I also think Acts 17:24-25 is a warning of this as well. Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines 25 or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. – This seems kind of like a warning of us getting too religious to me.
But I’ll try not to only be a critic. Like the creator of the cartoon put so well. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do to me”