I go back and forth on the right amount of balance between acceptance and witness, if that makes any sense. What I mean is this. You know, when the world sees people who go to church doing questionable things, basically being like the world, it’s a bad witness. Makes it seem like the church is full of hypocrites. Thing is, “wordly” people and hypocrites are exactly the ones we need going to church. My dad’s whole mantra is the church is a hospital, based on Jesus saying how he came for the sick, etc. But yeah, we need the sick people in the hospital; the sicker, the more they need to be there. So I believe in getting those people into church. Problem is, the more of them there are in church, the more it tends to turn off other people from church, when they see no difference between churchgoers and the world. It’s a weird conundrum. I can’t get my head around it.
The ideal situation is that “worldly” people come to church, but then get filled with the Spirit and see how empty and unfulfilling worldliness is and they change. It’s just, reality is more complicated than that. Maybe I just lack faith? I dunno.
Reason this came up is I was hanging out with some people lately and I felt those competing emotions. Just, a few of them were, I dunno, just into things I’m not into. I think I’ve said before how I feel uncomfortable when I’m hanging out with Christians and it feels like hanging out with non-Christians. So on one hand, it bothered me. But on the other hand, I was encouraged. Just, this church that they all went to was a true community, so people kept going because of the continuity of that community. What I mean I guess is that sometimes people who go away for school or move or whatever end up drifting from the church in the transitions. But when people grow up in a church and have long term community there, the same types of people end up staying in the church. And that part I find encouraging, that the church keeps people who might otherwise be drifting. The church is a hospital. So I find it really good that they’re there, even though I’m simultaneously bothered.
Anyway, yeah, church sociology fascinates me, it’s something I think about a lot. No answers to anything, just thoughts and questions.