Well, here we all are, sitting in Church every Sunday. It’s nice in Church. We can worship our God, and celebrate the life and works of Jesus Christ and generally have a good time.
The only slight flaw in this model is sustainability. In order to populate the church you have two options.
You can have children. The Amish are a good example of a community where enough families working together have carried forward a way of life and worship from generation to generation without much in terms of external influence or interference.
Alternatively, you can convert other people. In order to do that your church must be welcoming and offer a real benefit to those who attend. Attractive religious groups who then suck the convert dry financially and emotionally and spit them out at the end are rightly viewed with deep suspicion.
In the gospel of Jesus Christ there is forgiveness for past wrongs and the promise of eternal life. These gifts are world class. They are in fact world beating. They are the very stuff of life and the continuation of our (now immortal) soul.
Unfortunately, Christians are human. We mess up the glorious message of a divine and saving grace with our own little rules and regulations and restrictions. In the last millennium alone we’ve gone to war over God, excluded poor people, black people, common people, uneducated people, folks who can’t read Latin, those with mental and/or physical afflictions we find unattractive and generally anybody who falls into a category or station below our own.
It’s not surprising. Once you think you have an ultimate answer, the human condition is such you tend to become a bit of a snob about it and don’t want to share it with anybody but those you think appropriate.
When we look at the story of Jesus that’s not how he played it. He went to the people who needed to hear that they were important, made and loved by a creative Heavenly Father who takes delight in his children and cares for them. Jesus tackled issues of poverty, both physical and spiritual; equality of people; justice; finance; respect and of course he dined with tax collectors and other serious wrongdoers. I think sometimes we have failed to do any of that very well. Some of it we have failed to do at all.
The best I can offer is this: I see what Jesus did and some of what he was about and I understand enough of it to try doing the same.
So, if you want to come to a fulfilling and supportive church which will serve your needs and solve your problems, you may find yourself disappointed. But if you want to find a bunch of people who are trying to live by what Jesus showed us of God’s kingdom while he was with us, and who trust in the promises he made that we can be pardoned and changed for the better, the door is always open.