A great analogy from Dean Kennedy:
As we rode the monorail from our hotel to the Magic Kingdom I caught sight of the hotels across the street that help to serve the nearly 6 million visitors that come here each year. As we moved on I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the hotel operators, although they are most definitley profiting from the people coming to Disneyland. Here’s what struck me – they are so close to the action yet no matter what they do to their hotels – they will never “be” part of the magic of the “kingdom” of Disneyland. The They can offer large pools, free high speed internet, free meals, gourmet coffee, luxurious rooms – but they will always, always be “across the street from Disneyland”.
…The “kingdom” is an exhilarating place to live if we are doing so missionally and incarnating the love of Christ.
But when that “kingdom” becomes about personal preferences, expectations, rules and “culture” run amuck – we, the body of Jesus become like the hotels across the street from Disney. We easily make ourselves and the church, bit characters in the grand story. And that is sad – because it doesn’t have to be that way. The kingdom is where the real story is being written and to be so close and to be doing many good things and providing many good services and yet missing out on what’s going on “across the street” is profoundly sad and ultimately such a waste. Even worse – thinking that somehow by relying on our programs and events we have created something that resembles the kingdom. Perhaps that’s the inherent sadness I feel about the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. The younger son – who left and returned – knew what it was like to “live” in the kingdom – whereas the older brother couldn’t seem to experience the kingdom first hand and had instead gotten used to living “across the street from it.”