History shows that institutions corrupt their very reason for existence (the French have a way of saying that too). On a cataclysmic scale, the Reformation bears witness to this fact, and the Church isn’t the only institution to fall victim to crafty human ways of avoiding what it is there for.
Clyde Reid wrote in 1966 of how unconscious motivation works at a group level to lock congregations into utterly superficial modes of functioning, primarily shown through superficial relationships.
Among many other piercing insights, he observes, “The adult members of churches today rarely raise serious religious questions for fear of revealing their doubts or being thought of as strange. There is an implicit conspiracy of silence on religious matters in the churches. This conspiracy covers up the fact that the churches do not change lives or influence conduct to any appreciable degree.”
But this is the “ouch” that exposes self-protection, a form of sin that blatantly refuses the loving sovereign providence of God. We’ve created such manic activity in our “church life” that actually help us avoid our relational responsibility whilst masquerading as religious work!
The reason why we avoid authentic relationship/openness is because we fear it. We fear upsetting the apple-cart, confronting, anger, etc. We are not open because we’re afraid of what others will think of us. And thus we never spend time seriously thinking what God’s thoughts are.
When the Church beholds the glory of Christ, she will become the radiant Bride. That day will come, because God is faithful, but Church, Ministers, Vicars, Leaders, we must think deeply about this. Not to make our churches look good, but to set our churches free.
God loves the Church. The gates of Hell will not prevail against it. But every generation must learn again what it means to behold His glory.
You’ve only got one life. Live it for the One you were made for.