The Pepperdine Lectures were truly incredible. I was challenged, uplifted and encouraged. The quality of the classes in such a beautiful setting makes this- for me anyway- the best gathering in our brotherhood.
Of course, much was said about our brotherhood in the Churches of Christ. One presenter posed a question that fits quite well into our recent discussions. He asked, “Why Stay?” (in the Church of Christ)
Here is what I hear now when I ask this question:
“It is my church heritage”
“It is were I am most comfortable”
“All my friends are here”
“I like” the preacher, youth ministry, children’s ministry, etc
“This church has a good reputation in town”
Those are honest reasons, but I cannot help but wonder- is that it? Is this what passes for church loyalty today? Don’t misunderstand me. I am not longing for the days when the answer to this questions was “because we are the only ones going to heaven”, but shouldn’t there more to our answers than just preference and/or a sense of pride?
Does there remain any validity in our traditional plea of simple Christianity? Are there any of our teachings that still generates a sense of loyalty? And what does this say about our identity? Are we just another church on the block for consumers to sample or do we have something distinctly special to offer?
I realize I am asking several questions here, but these things have been buzzing through my mind since my return. I do think our traditional identity in the Churches of Christ has been shaken and many are now on a journey to reshape that identity. My prayer is that we all go in God’s direction on this journey.