Authentic Community

flock-of-birds-508039_640When the reason for something is different from the expectation, there is bound to be a problem. When we want something that the thing we want from wasn’t designed for, we are going to be disappointed. We can either leave mad or correct our perspective. When it’s all said and done, it’s not the thing that has the problem, it’s us.

Most of us want something out of church which it was never intended to be. We want to be accepted, agreed with and affirmed. We want to everything to be good since we tend to equate church with a “good” purpose. When things happen in and around church that aren’t so “good” we feel justified in our judgment of those things and that church. We stand on our justification as we complain, conspire and ultimately completely leave.

This goes for new church goers and seasoned church goers, alike, but the longer you are there the more likely you are entrenched. That means back pew, leaders or staff members are all susceptible to the expectation and disappointment.

What if church is for conflict? What if the whole idea is to live in close enough proximity with other flawed people so that those flaws all come out in community? From the exposure of our flaws and the flaws in others, the real opportunity of church emerges.

In living life with others, we are going to offend and be offended. The closer the proximity, the more certain and the more frequent the offense. From those offenses, we are afforded the opportunity to receive and give grace. We can seek the same grace the Jesus afforded us and give it to others. We can receive grace from others as we seek grace for us and them, both.

The display of grace among people who need and offer grace is the display of Jesus. Jesus is not on display in our apparent perfection or suburban comfort. He is available for the whole world to see in us through our weakness. In our weakness, He is strong. In our flaws, we rely on His grace.

Living life together as the church is what affords the world to see Jesus. Not in our shiny perceptions of perfection, but in our graceful acceptance of others. Authentic relationship reveals authentic flaws and authentic flaws require authentic grace.

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