1 Corinthians: 12:12-31 CEB
In two months there will be a physical launch of Fig Tree Christian. There will be much to celebrate. Most of the dialogue will be exciting and uplifting. I cannot wait to meet those people I will work on a one on one level. Yet, last Sunday I had a revelation. Pharaoh's heart was hardened. God calls some to participate and calls some not to participate. Some are going to be called to continue on this journey with me and I am going to embrace those connections and what they mean to the trek. Some are going to realize this is not going the direction they are called to go and I am going to rejoice for those people also. They are choosing to follow their God chosen path.
I say this because what I am about to lay out might be one of those moments for you where you are either solidified with what I am saying or turned away. If I could imagine what the Body of Christ looks like today my imagination would not be pretty. I wouldn't see a perfect Adam or Eve. I wouldn't even see an unhealthy person. I would see the hacked up remains of the Body, cut to pieces, laying on the alter of false dreams, ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of nothing. I'm sorry, I can't dumb this down. There comes a time when sugarcoating the truth only spoils the message. That time is when people simply peal off the sugar and throw the medicine out.
God connects us in a wonderful way. Before that connection humanity labels and separates us. We are put into boxes. We are a color. We are a gender. We are a social status. Before God those things are barriers. Because I am not [A] I cannot receive [B]. Because I am [C] I get [D]. As a people we like to separate and create clear lines because we can understand clear lines. Yet in our differences God invites us in the same Spirit, a Spirit of love. Love binds us together and turns differences into uniqueness. Love turns random groups of people into community.
It is through the Spirit God gives us the gifts we need to be part of the body of Christ. Through the Spirit the recovering addict and the pious priest have equally important jobs to a well functioning body. This is a communal relationship. With the help of God it is not a difficult relationship to be in. Thus enters the problem. We have been taught we can do this without God, and for that empty lesson we have paid the price. Not only have people left Christianity like lemmings jumping to their doom, we have become a movement broken and torn apart. I am not talking about denominational differences. This issue goes beyond when and how people are baptized or whether one believes in a physical Eden or not. The Body of Christ is a symbol of relationship and relationship is our greatest deficit today.
We live in a society where it is normal to not know your neighbor and go to a church where you can blend in and not have to interact. When we are hurt or in need it is no longer the community who helps us out. We must become a faceless need to receive faceless help. The connection is lost. Jesus never meant for our charity to become disconnected. When we talk our conversations have turned into an 'us' verses 'them' discussion. We forget Jesus considered all of us, us. So we cut out others. Others cut us out. We cut ourselves out. Now we are not a Body anymore, at least not a functioning one.
The question I get asked the most is 'why.' Why am I so drawn to start Fig Tree in Paulding, County, Ga? The answer is, I am called. I know calling is not good enough for many. So- I am called because there are quiet a few churches in Paulding County, but no where that I have found that seeks to speak the unchurched language and use that to share the glorious story of God. I have seen churches try. In the end the skeleton for the service is the same. The language is the same. The choice is between praise or traditional worship. Everything else, is the same. Those who live in Paulding, County and want to attend church can find more than a dozen choices.
Fig Tree wants to be the place where the voices can openly be heard and celebrated. Where the broken body of Christ can begin to be pieced back together. Where the truth is fearlessly searched. This educational truth will get the views out so opinion isn't hidden behind innuendo. Because, silence is the first sign relationship is broken. Fig Tree is not here to redo what every other church is doing. Fig Tree is here to be a congregation, a community, a Body of Christ. What will that look like? As those seeking a relationship enter, the look will begin to take shape, for it will be shaped by the people who have yet to enter the doors. But, it will not look like church, in the way we have come to know it over the past 50 years.This will be new and yet, incredibly old. Two-Thousand years old to be exact.