Very few people in my neck of the woods desire to be part of an organized spiritual community, fewer still want to participate in a community of faith gathered around “pure and simple devotion to Jesus.” In that very small group of people gathered around Jesus, they can be divided into two different types of people. Consider Eugene Peterson’s observations from “Run With The Horses: The Quest For Life At Its Best.”
Some people come to church looking for a way to make life better, to feel good about themselves, to see things in a better light. They arrange a ritual and hire a preacher to make that happen for them. Other people come to church because they want God to save and rule them. They accept the fact that there are temptations and sufferings and sacrifices involved in leaving a way of life in which they are in control and plunging into an uncertain existence in which God is in control. One group of people sees religion as a way to successful, happy living; nothing that interferes with the success or interrupts the happiness will be tolerated. The other group sees religion as a way in which hurt, flawed and damaged persons become whole in relation to God; anything will be accepted (mockery, pain, renunciation, self-denial) in order to deepen and extend that reality. One way is the way of enhancing what I want; the other way is a commitment of myself to become what God wants.
Which group do you think you fit into?