This post was first published February 12, 2007)
The leadership of our church started talking about what we value. In a couple of conversations, we developed two lists of core values, with a lot of overlap. And then as we met, we started talking about what we want to be known for, about what four things we want people to know about us, about what we would say in 15 seconds about our church.
It was a great exercise, because we have a bunch of people who really care about church NOT being church or playing church. We want to be, well, “a Biblically-based, caring community, worshiping God and reaching people for Christ.”
In this statement are actually FIVE things, but that’s okay.
First, we want to be a community. There are many things that a church could be: family, club, party, team, association, therapy group. What we are saying is that we pick community. We want to be about relationships that matter, about people coming and going but desiring to put down roots, about interdependence, about different ages and skills and abilities and interests but something in common. We want to be.
Second (and last for this post), we want to be Biblically-based.
That has the potential to be scary. The Bible gets used in ways it was never intended and therein is great pain. However, what would happen if we looked at it, not as a book of lists or rules or strange names, but as a love letter.
What if God really exists and really cares about people like a groom cares about a bride? And what if the groom is a King and the bride is an abused slave girl? What if that groom wrote a bunch of letters to that bride, in the middle of her slavery, telling her that he loved her, saying what life in the court is like, telling her how to live in the courts of the King. What if he explained what happens to the people who are holding her in slavery? What if he told the stories of what love means. What if he wrote about his own love for her which caused him to give up his royal position and live in exile and die for her.
Would that slave girl look at those letters as rules or as expressions of love? Would she see a life more restrictive or a hope of freedom. Would she look in them for ways to restrict, or would she be reading them and saying to other slaves, “the prince is coming, he really does love me, he somehow smuggled food to me, he wants me.”
And what would a community that was built around love letters from the king look like?
“Looking Back” is an opportunity to republish posts which have mattered to me. They may matter to you, too.