(“Thoughts I Want To Leave Behind” is a collection of thoughts and impressions I want to leave behind as I begin to make my final pastoral transition.)
#7 Religious Skeletons
Our physical body is supported by our skeletal structure. Remove our skeleton and we would fall to the floor becoming an unrecognizable mass of tissue. The same is true for any group or institution. We need some form of structure to support life.
As with a healthy physical body, the skeleton should not be the first thing we notice when we meet someone. Tragic death camp pictures of starving people, where human beings were reduced to walking skeletons, is how a group or institution can appear if too much emphasis is placed on structure instead of the life the structure supports. You will need a basic structure as a support mechanism for the life God is birthing in you and your ministry, but keep it to a minimum.
The Early Church saw how important this minimalist approach was in Acts 15 as the Gentile Church was being birthed beyond Jerusalem. Wise leaders suggested they only ask a few things of these new Gentile believers while others in the Jewish dominated church in Jerusalem would have reduced the Gentile Church to a skeletal expression of life by imposing a Jewish structure over a Gentile expression of the Church. Instead, what happened was the birth of a healthy image of a church in its unique cultural context where the skeletal structure was not the first thing noticed when the Gentile believers greeted their host culture with the new and life-giving message of Jesus Christ.