Say you’re father asks you to take a trip. He tells you that this trip will benefit you, but you may not realize it. He gives you a destination, and tells you he is already there waiting for you. He also gives you directions. You decide you’ll take the trip and so early in the morning you put your bag in the car, fill up the tank, and hit the road. For a while, you are going in the right direction, following the exact directions you’re dad gave you.
At some point you begin to think you may have gone in the wrong direction. The landmarks or road names your dad gave you are nowhere to be seen. You’ve been going for miles beyond what you were told to before your next turn. So you stop and ask someone for directions. You tell them where you are going and they say “Well I’ve never been there myself, but there’s a shortcut if you go up to so and so and turn at such and such.”
Even though he said he’s never been there the directions sound good, and since you’re lost already it’s worth a shot. So you go following his directions, expecting you’ll make better time than you would have if you listened to your dad.
Hours into the shortcut, you feel even more certain that you are lost. Not only are you wondering if you’ve missed turns, but you have been traveling for longer than it would have taken if you had followed your dad’s directions. So you stop at a gas station. You look at a map for a few minutes and get your bearings. Looking at the map you see that the road you are on is taking you in the wrong direction and out of the way. It may eventually get you to your destination, but it will take much much longer. On the other hand, you can go back the way you came and get back on the road your Dad told you about and follow his directions the rest of the way. If you go back and follow your dad’s directions, you will make better time than if you go on the way you are now, even though you will geographically be moving farther away from the destination while you back track.
Here’s where the logic comes in. Which way do you choose?
Obviously, you choose to go back. Even though you have to first move farther from the destination, you realize that this is the most effective way to get closer. Moving backwards is a start to moving forward.
This is how we feel about the church in America. We feel that it has gotten farther and farther from what it started out as; a gathering of believers to discuss, celebrate, give thanks, and share time together so that they could grow. Not just in number, but in strength of faith.
One of our goals is to show where we think the church has changed, weakened, and strayed from its intended form. We don’t claim to have the answers or to be experts in what the church is supposed to be, but we are pretty sure that what it is today and what it is becoming is far from its purest form.
We are going to do our best not only to point out the flaws, but to present ways it can improve. Ways it can get back to what it is intended to be. Ways that it can move in our communities, and help believers grow.
It’s not going to be something we do in one sitting, there’s never going to be one post that sums up the problems in the church, or one that gives some deep mystic answer that solves them all. But stick around, because we’re going to hack at it slowly.
What do we need from you? Ideas, suggestions, opinions on church, faith, and what it means to work for Christ in our world. Help us identify the problems, the flaws, ways church has strayed from its best form. Tell us what you want to see in church, how can it be better, what do you think will help the church get back to its best, most effective form.
Give us feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. And stick around, the more of us that speak, the louder our voice is.