Conformity is not community.
We are not a body when we are all feet, or all hands, or all mouths. That’s when we become dysfunctional, misguided and misrepresenting of the image in which we were made.
We were made in that image not as individuals, but as community, in relationship with one another.
It’s time to be the body, no longer a collection of clones. It’s time to embrace the flavor and variety that only comes out best in true community. It’s time to cease and desist demonizing every other perspective and inoculating ourselves against different ideas.
It’s time to be the image.
Jesus had 12 disciples and they were as different as they could be. A poet and a zealot walked around together for 3+ years and managed to not kill each other or kick the other one out of the group. He led a group where differences were welcomed, sought after, celebrated. Mary, his mother, and Mary Magdalene… a saint and a sinner.
That’s the table I want to sit at. I want to talk to the zealot and share bread with the poet. I want to eat with the Marys… both of them.
The church I want is one where the atheist is welcomed, with no strings attached. Where the agnostic is free to explore. Where the crusty veteran and the angst-ridden teenager know one another’s name and introduce the other to their friends. Where the cynic and the idealist are willing to pour coffee for the other. Where the feminist has a voice and the traditionalist does, too.
That’s community. Community is the difference between unity and uniformity.
I want to worship where the lines between political parties are forgotten, not etched more deeply. Where there are uniforms and flannel shirts. Where the haves sit next to the have-nots. Where we welcome the lost as much as the found, because whether we’re lost or found, we’re together and that’s what matters.
I want to worship where there are loud people, quiet people and in-the-middle people. Not where they send the babies out when they start to fuss. The babies belong there. If it’s ok for fussy adults, it ought to be ok for fussy babies, too.
We aren’t the image if we all look alike, sound alike, be alike. We aren’t the body if there aren’t a few scars and open wounds around. We aren’t truly the community that God intends us to be without poets AND zealots and saints AND sinners.
It’s time. It’s time for a bigger table. It’s time for wider doors. It’s time to be community.