(Here is the rest of the conversation going on in my head about cultural bias and the church…Due to the nature of this mind, viewer discretion is advised. The Spiritually immature, not to be confused with “new believers”, may not be able to comprehend these thoughts. Please read the first part before reading this one: Cultural Bias And “The Church”)
Mr. Churchian: First you’re talking about Greek and now Latin? All of that is irrelevant.
Ms. Tenured Pew Sitter: Besides, we speak English, American English. I agree with Mr. Churchian, Greek/Latin–that doesn’t mean a thing!
Me: (Fighting hard to keep my gift of sarcasm in check) Yes, we speak American English (I’m wondering why Ms. Tenured Pew Sitter insists on the KJV) but yet there are different meanings to words now than when these wonderful letters and books were written. I know that we cannot all be Greek and Hebrew Scholars and this is why there are so many resources that can help us to understand in a deeper way the intent of the writers by looking at the original meanings of those words.
Mr. Churchian: Well, I know what I know!
Ms. Tenured Pew Sitter: And I know all I need to know!
Me: (Now I’m smiling again!) And that, my dear brother and sister in Christ, is the problem. What you know is what you have been taught by well-meaning people who have been enveloped in that fog of misinformation called “Church Cultural Bias”. We have accepted, BLINDLY accepted what we have been told about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. And at the root of this, I’m calling it what it is, this DECEPTION are these 2 diametrical words: the original word Ekklēsia and that substitute word Circulous.
Circulous is a “circle”. A circle is a closed system. What ever is outside that circle must be allowed in to be a part of the circle. The circle then supports itself. Whatever is allowed to be a part of the circle must have 2 key attributes:
- First, it must conform. If they do not conform, then the circle is no longer symmetrical. And God knows we can’t have circles unless they are symmetrical. And Ms. Tenured Pew Sitter I know how important symmetry is to you. (She’s smiling now, but wait for it!)
- Second, it must contribute something to the existing structure. They must be able to reflect the current image. God knows we cannot have people in jeans with tattoos and piercings a part of the circle that is full of suits, ties and women wearing conservative fashionable dresses. They must be able to add to the existing and prevailing views, otherwise we would not be uniform. And Mr. Churchian, I know how important contributing to uniformity is to you. (Now he’s smiling, but wait for it!)
And all of this must happen within the confines of a specific geographic location, otherwise known as The Church Building. Am I correct in this, Mr. Churchian and Ms. Tenured Pew Sitter?
Mr. Churchian and Ms. Tenured Pew Sitter: (In unison) ABSOLUTELY! Thanks for finally coming over to our side!
Me: ‘Hold `em thar’ horses!’ What I just described is the Body of Christ as Circulous, a “circle”. The circle exists to serve those already in the circle. Anything that doesn’t support the circle is deemed both unnecessary and unimportant. The focus is entirely on human activities; what WE do. It creates that sense of entitlement, and I know how both of you feel about “the entitlement generation”. The circle produces consumers. As long as the pastor, staff and leadership puts out “consumables” for you, everything is great. When they no longer put out consumables, it’s time to replace them. This, my Sister and Brother, is the Body of Christ as a circle. I see you nodding your heads in agreement. But remember that Circulous is a substitute word for the original word.
The Body of Christ as the Ekklēsia focuses on the One who does the calling. By focusing on the One who does the calling, the focus is on the life that God offers us and the foundation of that life that God offers us is about dying daily to self in order to live in unselfish ways in order to care about and for others. Putting it another way, here are 3 things the Ekklēsia is not:
- It does not look like a geometrical circle. It looks more like coloring outside the lines. I know how much both of you detest coloring outside the lines. But when Jesus was in our human form He was the Master Artist of coloring outside the lines. Jesus continues coloring outside the lines by storming the strongholds of human values and culture.
- It is not being uniform. Our Creator loves unique diversity. Look at the animal kingdom. You have an armadillo and you have the giraffe. Look even at horses, varieties of sizes, shapes, colors, and purposes. God loves diversity so He created us uniquely and loves it when we use our uniqueness to honor Him. Think about the beauty of a rainbow. The colors are not the same. When the light hits those raindrops at the right angle, then the beauty shines.
- It does not focus inwardly. The One who calls us is always looking outwardly. Thus, to respond to that call, the Body of Christ also looks outwardly. The Ekklēsia cannot be confined to a postal or 911 address. All that happens inside the geographical location is designed to drive us out of that location to where real people are enslaved by sin, bringing light to the dirtiest and darkest places on earth.
Ms. Tenured Pew Sitter: Well, that’s not what I was taught!
Mr. Churchian: Well, I earned my way to be here and everyone else should earn their way, JUST LIKE I DID!
Me: Well, it wasn’t what I was taught either. And I admit, I haven’t earned my way into the circle. But I have been called out by God’s grace. Called back to my Creator, my Father. I have been called out to follow Jesus wherever He wants me to go in order to do whatever He wants me to do. Now, if you two will excuse me, Jesus has left the building, so I must also leave the building….
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!
(Maybe Elvis had it right)