Us and the Church
Just to keep things clear from the start. If I say Church I'm referring to the Church Universal, the Body of Christ, the collective name for all Christians; if I say church I'm referring to some particular congregation.

This is the last of three posts exploring what we're doing here, our connection to The Salvation Army and our relationship with the Church. I've already explained our vision for our mission here (which is always up for reinterpretation by God) and our ongoing (if slightly strange) connection to the "Army", so all that remains is trying to explore our place in the Church.

Without wanting to offend anyone, the majority of churches here in Cornwall (like many across the country) are very traditional in their form. They are full of people who sadly don't really understand what salvation is (or what they are saved from) and who are more interested in raising money to maintain their building than saving people from eternal damnation. I don't blame any of these people, this has been going on for years - the less personal Christianity became the less people had a need for it.

Eventually Christianity became so watered down that people went one of three ways:
  1. Reject the whole thing because it's a waste of time
  2. Look deeper to see if there's something more to it
  3. Stick with it, because at least it makes me a better person and helps me meet other people
Thankfully, my Christian heritage is from the second group. A lot of the churches of the land are filled with the third group.

Grace, the church that we've connected with here, is definitely part of that second group, but unfortunately the other churches it seems are mostly toward the third group (although there are definitely some second-way Christians in Looe not connected to Grace). So in terms of our connection to a church, that's definitely Grace here, but also very much The Salvation Army (see my last post).

What we're doing here, however, may lead us to do something entirely new (at least in Looe) - not that we particularly want to start a church. I'm starting to feel that we may be called to work with that first group - people who have rejected church or can't connect with churchy-ways of doing things. Also, unfortunately, Grace has a bit of a bad rep here with 18 year old rumours still flying round - this may prevent some from being able to make a first step into church.

The theologians talk about postmodernity and postchristendom, but to sum it up briefly: people don't think and live the way they used to and old forms of church don't really work any more. Therefore we'd be looking at ways of meeting people where they're at - this probably won't involve preaching on street corners, more one-on-one conversations, but who knows?

The most important thing is that whatever we do, we will be part of the Church. The people who join us, whether or not they choose to attend or affiliate themselves with any other church, will still be a legitimate part of the body of Christ.
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