This past week a number of people have written me their stories about why they don't like church. I spoke to this briefly in my sermon today called, "A Church That Looks Like God" posted 01/23/06.
As people have told me what they don’t like about church it often has something to do with being excluded. Church leaders told them that because they believed the wrong thing or behaved the wrong way that they weren’t acceptable to the church. They couldn’t attend the church or take communion at the church or be married at the church or burying someone in their family. It's very offensive.
Now, I understand that churches have the right to their doctrines and their moral codes. And they have the right to include or exclude anyone they want. But when they condemn and reject people they aren’t looking like God. And that’s sad.
Somehow Jesus was able to reveal people’s sin to them without rejecting them or making them feel like pond scum. Somehow, when Jesus pointed out a person’s sin they walked away feeling like he believed in them rather than feeling condemned by him. So I think that a church that looks like God will find a way to do the same. They’ll find a way to affirm people without approving their sin. And I think they’ll find a way to include people without compromising the truth.