I’m reconsidering a positive use of the word “church.” I have my criticisms, but I seem to be one of a very small number of people who are so allergic to it, at least in the worlds that I live in. Recently, a few of us started a new Emergent cohort here in Raleigh, NC, which has sparked this question. But, this post is more rhetorical in nature, in order to get to a better understanding of what the word “church” might actually mean.
So, this goes out to those of you who do use the word church in a positive way…
What do YOU mean by the word?
What things or practices do you think MUST be present in order to use the word “correctly”?
What if I and a few others – ranging from progressive Christians to hardcore atheists – wanted to use the word to describe our small group? What would be the benefits and potential problems of doing so?
It seems like more and more “non-traditional” groups are using the word to describe their groups/communities. This ranges from the “atheist church” in London, to what thinkers like Pete Rollins are doing, Revolution Church in New York, or even some strictly online communities.
Is the word “getting at” something profound that should be retained, despite its potential negative associations?