…my “unique viewers” counter will roll over 70,000 since January 7, 2005.
Most web statisticians will agree that means that only between 15-35,000 of those are actual, unique viewers. I’m pretty sure the numbers have slowed from a good-sized banquet gathering to a booth at the coffee bar, so “the next few days” is only a guess. Of those numbers, some will have dropped their blogging habit in favor of Facebook or Twitter or the next thing that requires fewer words, thoughts and commitment. I’m sure some will have only stayed long enough at this blog to learn they’re not interested, or are offended.
(Mike Cope once told me while still preaching at Highland that his personal motto was “A little something to offend everyone.” I still like that.)
I’m not big into the numbers. (I probably haven’t checked that dumb counter for weeks; just happened to see it when scrolling down to review an older post.) I’m not offering a prize for viewer #70,000. (It’d be junk, anyway. That’s all I own. Junk and stuff. I use the stuff and look at the junk.)
So, here’s a little something to offend and disappoint everyone:
I think the Restoration Movement started off in the wrong direction, and is still pursuing it.
I believe the whole idea of trying to restore the New Testament church of century one is wrong-headed (though probably right-hearted) and has led us into the divisive, contentious, denominational morass that at least some folks are willing to recognize for what it is.
(Mother Lemming to Teenage Son: “Well, if all your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you do it, too?” Teenage Son: “Duh! – Of course!” Maybe our fellowship’s plight is not that desperate. Or is it?)
Instead of trying to be like an institution of imperfect people – sinful people, made perfect by the blood of Christ – shouldn’t we have been trying to just be like Christ?
Even Paul instructs that he should be followed only inasfar as he follows Christ.
The whole Restoration exercise has made us church-centered instead of Christ-centered. We preach church instead of Christ. We preach what to do instead of what He has done – and is doing, and would like to do through us, if we’d just let Him. And far too often, we preach as doctrines of God what are really precepts and interpretations and legislations of men. Law, in other words, which cannot save. (Paul said that. I believe him.)
I don’t want to be like the church of the first century. Or the eighteenth century. Or the twentieth, or even the twenty-first. I want to be like Jesus.
But I need your help.
I need to know who Jesus is, and what I understand about Him that’s right, and what I misunderstand about Him that’s wrong. I need His Spirit inside me and His family – His church – around me. I need the comfort and reassurance of God without and within me.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
I believe that’s why God puts us, the lonely, in His family – so that we can see Christ in each other and get to know Him better.
I don’t give a flying flip anymore about who is in and who is out of the church, the saved, the redeemed. I’ll talk about Jesus Christ with anyone, and let God decide – and I will be glad to listen to what anyone believes about Him and glad to share Whom I believe and in the end, I will only be responsible for what I’ve believed and chosen and taught and so will they.
I don’t give a howling hoot any longer about how church must be structured or what name must appear on the sign in front or what you can or can’t do on Sunday inside the building as if it were somehow more sacred than the rest of the world the Lord God made with His own words of creation during six extraordinary days of creative work.
I don’t care a whining whimper these days about programs, series, lessons, lectures, theories, interpretations, deductions, conclusions, traditions, and any kind of religious claptrap that diverts attention from Christ to the church as if the church were of first importance. The church was of first importance to Christ, the Bridegroom who laid down His life for her.
If the church is of first importance to the church … well, good people, that’s just plain narcissism on the part of the bride. That’s the twenty-five cent word. The five cent word is “selfishness.” And it’s a sin.
Time is short. It has been for the better part of two thousand years, and an end of one kind or another comes to all and it awaits you and me.
I don’t want to squander the time pursuing a life as part of a bride that primps at the mirror, ignoring all of the other crucial things involved in preparing for the arrival of the bridegroom and the great wedding feast to come.
I just want to sit down at Christ’s table and dine with Him and with you.
I simply want to sing and pray His praise with our voices blended.
I genuinely want to be immersed with you in His life, doing together with you what He wants us to do.
I emphatically want to be a part of His church, His family with you – all of you – because that’s what He wants.
Now those are the sort of numbers I can get excited about!
Tomorrow I will have to get up, get dressed and go to work at my church, and either pretend that I did not write this and do not believe it, or own up to it with everything that I say and do hereafter – and possibly lose that job as a result. So I need you to pray for me, all three of you who are left reading this fool’s errand of a blog – and be God’s family for me.