I had the chance last week to attend the “Leadercast” event which is held in Atlanta but then broadcast live throughout America and other parts of the world.
This was the second time that I was able to attend the event, and if my mind’s not slipping me; maybe it is, I want to do as I did last time and share a few thoughts about my experience.
Most often, especially in Middle Tennessee, the simulcast events are held at church buildings due to locality and other logistically related issues such as seating. So as the case was last year, this year’s venue was a church building in a neighboring county.
The thought that I would like to share this morning comes from something the church’s pastor said to the people in attendance. He invited everyone to visit the church and then added this caveat: if you’re not messed up don’t visit our church, we don’t want you here, cause we’re a bunch of messed up people.
My first reaction to that was, “That’s messed up.” My feelings had nothing to do with a self-righteous, high-horse, better-than-you attitude. It had to do with the fact that if a person is looking for some spiritual guidance then they need to find it from others who have it together – not from people who are messed up.
This has nothing to do with believing that I’m sinless (outside of the sinlessness that the blood of Jesus provides). This has nothing to do with believing that I’m perfect (outside of the perfection that is found in Jesus). This has nothing to do with with believing that I’m a “holier than thou” individual (outside of the holiness attained and provided through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Jesus as the provider of the church). It has everything to do with the responsibility of the church’s membership to be distinctly and inherently different from the world (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). You know, the very things than an apostle of Jesus Christ corrected the church at Corinth for doing – they were messed up and Paul said that that was messed up!
But before you say Paul was messed up (as it seems a whole lot of religious people like to do), I would like to remind you that it wasn’t only Paul who felt that way – so did Peter (1 Peter 1:13-17), so did John (1 John 2:15-17), so did James (James 1:27, 4:1-4), and so did Jude (Jude 16-18). That doesn’t even include the recorded words of Jesus in the gospels that call us out of our messes and into his light. I can’t resist (Luke 13:1-5).
When I’m having car troubles I don’t want to take my vehicle to someone who has never had car problems. But then again, I don’t want to take it to someone who doesn’t know how to keep their car in good running condition! That doesn’t mean their car never has problems, but it does mean that when the problems come up they know where to order the parts from to fix them.
I’m not looking for a church that’s full of messed up people and neither should you. I’m looking for a church where the people have it together, and doesn’t mean…well, back up three paragraphs because I’m not going to rehash that hot-potato.
Am I messed up for feeling this way? Share your thoughts if you think so, or even if you don’t.