I've been processing a few thoughts in my head as of late and I'm going to toss them out for your consideration, opinion. The swirl in my head seems to arise out of the role of the church. Now it's important to know that I don't mean the only role of the church, but certainly an over-arching theme and mission. Even more important is to know that I mean the church as people and not as institution. With that premise, let me share a little about what I've been thinking.
When I think of policemen, I have the stereotypical thoughts most others do. And when I see them on the highway, it's like a shark in the water (cue Jaws music). However, to be fair, policemen are called to serve and to protect. They serve communities by patrolling or directing traffic in school zones. They also protect us from danger or disturbances. There is a specific sense of safety they generate. One can begin to rest in the idea that the grime and crime of the world won't bother you when they're around.
I wonder if the church ever gets like that? The church looks for ways to serve each other, meeting the real and felt needs of other saints. The church even patrols the saved populous to be sure they are safe from the outside world and it's influences. The beat cops of the church crack down on law-breaking, dispensing tickets to encourage behavior modification. The church serves, it protects.
As much as it feels wrong to pick at a practice that perpetuates the safety bubble of the church members, I wonder if the body of Christ was meant for something different, something more.
When I think about a pioneer heading west on the early plains of the American landscape, I can't help but think of the word danger. There was wildlife, wild natives, rugged terrain, brutal weather, and the mystery of the unknown. Pioneers probably had to shoot a bear, ford a river or two, and ward off sickness without a walk-in clinic. They were expanding the borders and boundaries of their land and their influence; it was treacherous and beautiful all at the same time.
When I think of the church, I imagine that the pioneer life could be a good description. I picture the people of God advancing the kingdom of heaven. I envision expanding borders of Christ-like influence into the dark corners of cities and the hidden recesses of people's hearts. I sense a desire for danger, mystery, something worth dying for, living for (a spirit like that might light the fire of more men -- the sex that abandons the building of church faster than their counterpart). To me, the word pioneer seems to be a great word to define the early church. It would be hard to be bored in a first-century, pioneer church. However, would that some word be used today? I wonder...
I don't know about you, but I want don't to be content with events that secure our safety or add to our comfort. I want to pursue the wild, unknown space of people's hearts, both lost and found. I want to be pioneer for the Kingdom of Heaven. I long to rally with others who desire to (re)claim the bountiful hearts that belong to our great King. It'll take investment. It'll be risky. But oh the adventure it will be-- to God be the Glory!