The other day my husband and I were having one of our conversations while wandering out of the local Large Chain Bookstore, and he turned to me and said, "Do you think Jesus wanted to start a church?"
I'll admit right now, this kind of question sort of annoys me, what with me being a pastor in a -- you know -- church, and all. My husband is deeply into the Jesus Movement writers, particularly Crossan and Borg; in fact, to tell the truth, he is more of a fan than I am. While at the bookstore, he was checking out a book about Jesus and Paul, and how Paul, not Jesus, started the church. Which, of course, led to the question, "Do you think Jesus wanted to start a church?"
Well, after the first wave of defensiveness passed, this is what I answered: "It depends on what you mean by 'church'". If, by church, you mean the institution, with all its bureaucracy, hierarchy and patriarchy (not to mention a few more "archys"), probably not. But if you mean by 'church' a movement of people committed to gathering together to worship and to serve, to pay attention to and work for the Kingdom of God among them and in the world, yes, I think he did."
I'll bet if the "church" was less an institution and more a movement, some different kinds of people might want to join. Like, tax collectors and sinners. The blind who are made to see, and the lame who now walk. Little kids with crumbly fish and a little bread. A few zealots who want to change the world.
What do you think?
Want to join a movement?