Maggi Dawn writes about Christianity and the church, and successfully challenges both those who are disillusioned with church and those who don’t understand the disillusionment:
It is almost always the case that you cannot be authentically Christian unless you are part of a Christian community. Why? The reason, I think, is that the gospel demands engagement in relationship. It has an individual element to it, but it is essentially a social religion.
That’s not to say, of course, that “the church” as we know it always lives up to its calling…Traditional church structures are a stumbling block for some….
So what do we with the call of the gospel to become part of the Church, if our experience of Church thus far is just too bad to overcome? The answer to this dilemma, I believe, is not to abandon the idea of church, but to rediscover what it means for church to be fully a community. This applies equally to denominational churches that have lost their way, and to new groups that are afraid of being too committed for fear of getting hurt again. The answer in both cases is not to withdraw, but to create community. And this will not come to anyone without cost and some degree of hurt along the way, because it’s in the nature of creating community that it is both challenging and expensive to the individual. A community that doesn’t challenge your ego and upset your equilibrium from time to time is probably not getting to grips with the faith.
Reminds me of David Fitch – we don’t need to abandon ecclesiology (the theology of the church). We need a reinvigorated ecclesiology. Bob Hyatt has also written on this recently and found himself stuck in the middle between two sides.