June 20, 2017

Strengthening the Church

I’m having BFO — a Blinding Flash of the Obvious. We don’t all go to church for the same reason, or with the same expectation. Recently I visited a charismatic church that had 10 big boxes of Kleenex dispersed at intervals amongst 33 chairs. These folks were passionate about healing, laying on of hands and the emotional experience. Another charismatic congregation wanted everyone to have their own experience…worshippers were invited to dance, sing, move about, or just meditate in their own space. While I enjoy church fellowship, my church attendance is not about the experience, but rather to hear the Word of God taught. Paul reminds us the reason we come together is not for ourselves, “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church” (1 Cor 14:26 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----The title you gave today’s blog expresses the reason we go to church. To let that statement stand, we must allow “strengthening” to stand for everything that actually does strengthen. Worship strengthens. So let’s do only that! No. Not only. Giving? No. Not only. Listening to sermons? Not only. Meeting and serving the needs of others? No. We too diminish the fact that each “I” is another.
-----When I was doing the K1-12 thing, society was not so whiney about the presence of the Bible and the value of generations past that it refused to pass around some good parables for the kids to ponder. One I always thought was passed around by the mocking liberal crowd, so, although I despised it, I loved it for its wisdom. It was the one we still hear today, sometimes, about the five blind guys trying to describe an elephant. Each one described it to be what part of the elephant he was touching. They were all right together. But each was wrong separately for trying to make the whole elephant only what it partially was..
-----Meeting together is about the emotional experience. But not only. It is also about the intellectual experience and learning. But not only. It is about giving and taking care of each other’s needs. But not only. It is celebration. But not only. Reverence. But not only. Keeping the Lord’s commandments. But not only. Playing. But not only. Your blog yesterday showed the weakness of what I like to advocate about the church needing not “a preacher” but many who have messages for the body. But not only.
-----For nineteen-hundred of the church’s two-thousand years, its leaders have been the five blind guys describing an elephant. We need to remember the essence of why we go to church is all packed into the title you gave today’s blog. I have always used the word “upbuilding” for that concept. But whether we use “strengthen” or “upbuild”, as soon as we give that verb either a subject or an object, then we’ve turned towards becoming the blind guys again. Another precious memory from my K1-12 plight: “I scream; you scream; we all scream for ice-cream!” “I build; you build; we all build to upbuild!” Well…OK. It does lack twenty to thirty degrees of cutsie the blind guys parable is full up of. Moreover, if we turn that strengthening/upbuilding thing towards our unbelieving neighbor today, we might even find him part of tomorrows church.

Love you all,
Steve Corey