Prof Larry Dixon writes in “Leadership Journal” about doing prison ministry, teaching a survey course in “Bible Doctrines”. (Leadership Journal Fall 2014 pp 36-37). One of his students remarks: “hey, Doc. You know, being in prison you’re exposed to so much prejudice, hatred, selfishness, loneliness, etc., that you can forget the goodness of God.”
No question that prison is an “in your face” example of the sin of the world. But do any of us think that the outside world is any less an example of all these vices, albeit, usually, a lot more subtle? And yes that is why we all need Christian community. I am not saying that the church is going to be some pristine environment where sin never happens. I am saying that at least it’s a place where we can call others on it. We work to be good disciples and to push against hate, prejudice, et al and be that “light on a hill” that Jesus told us to be. We can hold each other accountable in Jesus’ Name, instead of the weenie world which in a way that lacks class, character and integrity says “don’t judge me!” Why “because it’s all about me and I’m special!” Forty year old mothers talking this nonsense. Christians trust in the church, push back against what is wrong in Jesus’ Name, not their usually uninformed opinion.
Believe me the church is not perfect and there are too many “churches” that are just totally not in Jesus, much more in themselves. But the church whose members see themselves as disciples of Jesus will be pushing, will be challenging the evils of the world, will be growing in service to all who suffer. There is no where else in the entire world that is striving for that, NO WHERE ELSE, but the the Church that was established and built by Jesus Christ. Remember that when you show up Christmas Eve, the second time you show up to church this year. You spend the whole year wondering why life is so narrow, so mean and sometimes evil. You come to Christmas Eve worship because you “should” because we try to make it beautiful and God’s Word is always beautiful but you can’t quite get it into your head this is what you need all year?? All the ugliness you have to deal with every day in the world and coming once a week to share the beauty, the love, the profundity of God coming to be with His people, all year round. That’s not important??