Sometimes the big questions intersect with our everyday life. My opinions regarding large “theological” questions trickle all the way down to my ability to follow Jesus day-by-day. For example, my view of the scripture will determine how much authority it has in my life. My understanding of God’s purpose for marriage will find it’s way into my choices about sex. Or, for example, my view of the church will influence my everyday life as a follower of Jesus.
Here’s the challenge: not everyone thinks the answers to big questions matter in their ability to follow Jesus. We think they are simply matters of opinion, or even preference. What if big questions help--or hinder--our lives as students of Jesus?
One current question in North America has to do with the importance of the church. Church life in America has become a symbol of irrelevance, hypocrisy, or even considered harmful in the life of a disciple. Why not simply head out to Starbucks or a pub with my believing friends and call that “church?” Who needs the hassle of small-minded people or the drama of church as a someone’s private kingdom? I see the point of these questions. The church in the U.S. is desperately ill. So why not turn off the life support system?
My only problem is God. He seems to think the church is important. Here’s a meditation: try reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians without considering the place of the church in God’s order of things. The church is mentioned nine times in three separate contexts during this short letter. The Spirit-inspired text says some outrageous things about the church:
- The church is the “fulness of God” (1: 22-23). Really?
- God wants to speak to the cosmos, using the church as the example of his “manifold wisdom” (3: 10-11). No way!
- God actually thinks marriage is an everyday picture of Jesus and the Church (5: 22-33)
Before we all spend our tithe on lattes and pints with our best friends and call it “church” perhaps we could consider the big question of what God has in mind for the church and for us as followers of Jesus. It’s a big question that matters everyday.