Church + Endurance = Hope
by Christian Piatt
It may sound funny, but I find hope in the fact that the gospel of Jesus has endured this long, despite our involvement! Rather than fearing the changes taking place in Christianity today, we should welcome it as a sort of refiner's fire, as Paul does. What will be burned away may actually need to go in order to make room for new life and to help free us from the things that have distracted us from the real business of living more by the example of Jesus in the world.
We've mistakenly assumed, since church has been such a permanent fixture in our culture for so long, that we can't do without it if we want to be the body of Christ. But to paraphrase the TV show Halt and Catch Fire, church isn't the thing—it's the thing that gets us to the thing. If the gospel that we all claim and long to follow has endured this long, do we honestly believe that closing churches and declining worship numbers is enough to extinguish it? Of course not. In fact, in some ways, we've become our own stumbling blocks, getting caught up in preserving dying ways and institutional systems, when Jesus is clear about what we're to do if we want to experience the kind of life he wants for us: Set it all down and follow.
Christian Piatt is an author, speaker, musician, and spoken-word artist. He cofounded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colo., with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004. His latest book is Post Christian: What's Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care? (just out from Jericho Books).