As an adult, after having been a member of three or four different churches and seen more politics, splits, and failures, I’ve begun to understand the fly in the church family ointment. I grew up loving and believing in the church as much as I believed in God, maybe more. Jesus had become synonymous with churches’ names, pastors, worship styles, congregants. My experience of a particular expression of Christianity had come to replace faith.
In the scene in Matthew where Jesus tells the crowd who his real family is, maybe we had focused on the wrong part of the story. We grasped at the part about being brothers and sisters because that’s what we understood, and it sounded appealing and right. Especially in the seventies, it fit in with the ideals of peace, love, and understanding. Doing the will of the father was the part we perhaps paid less attention to. And maybe Luke’s harsh, hard to read, version is more helpful in the end: hating, or rejecting, anything, anyone, who ends up coming before following Jesus, is the only way to avoid the problems that come with the almost idolatrous worship of “the community.”
Though the creation of an idealized, utopian society based on two verses in the book of Acts is probably just another way to deny that we need grace every second in order to be at all Christlike, I still tend to gravitate toward churches that attempt to act like families. It would be easier, honestly, not to. . . .
And finally, TV critic Alan Sepinwall seems to be one of the few notable bloggers to be following the intrigues of NBC’s Kings:
“Insurrection” also illustrated the problem of having to deal with a relatively perfect hero.
A significant challenge. I really hope they’re up to it. As Simone Weil noted (and I can think of any number of examples):
Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating. Therefore, “imaginative literature” is always either boring or immoral (or a mixture of both). It only escapes from this alternative if in some way it passes over to reality through the power of art—and only genius can do that. (Gravity and Grace 62-63)