*This is the fifth intentional conversation between my summer intern Christian Parks and I.
J: Why is the construct of the church relevant?
C: The church is relevant because it is the most diverse construct we have in our world. The gospel of Jesus is a unifying message…no matter language, tradition or creed. Our homogenous spaces suffocate us and the church offers a model for breathing in our diverse oneness. Do you think the church is really the church?
J: Hell no. The church in the United States is dying due to our fundamental inability to see the suffocating nature of institutionalism. Our segregated classist spaces of worship have very little resemblance to what Jesus called us to be. We exist to protect the normative nature of power not to represent the gospel of love in our broken world. We were called to go to the nations…and we spend all of our time drunk on nationalism. We were called to be with the poor…and we think that our monthly feeding ministries are enough. We were called to be with the outcast…and we think that spaces full of means are the mark of success. We have failed. There is only one way out…to get saved and be the church. I have a firm primary belief that the church exists most fully in the streets. How do we get there?
C: We must repent of our ists and isms that cause us to treat our neighbors like our trash. We must remember that Jesus teaches us courage in the face of fear. We must be willing to take faithful steps out of our doors and into the streets. Our control must be no more. Our lives must be changed. Our fullness must be embodied. We must love. Do you think it is possible?
J: While the true universal church will always be present, the institutional church can’t survive in present form. How can the church in the United States experience resurrection when it clings so much to life? I don’t believe in resurrection without death. Instead of growth consultants, our churches need more undertakers. You ready to be an undertaker Brother Christian?
C: Hell yes. I believe in resurrection. I trust Jesus to make all things new. I know that this truly is our moment.
J: Thanks be!