This Sunday’s Gospel reading opens: “Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them … hate your momma.” I can not think of another image that is so dramatically opposite the behavior of church today. Regardless of all the subtlety of Jesus’ language, it is clear Jesus is not interested in large crowds. Nor do I think Jesus is interested in just a few followers either. What is clear is that Jesus is interested in informed followers, who really understand how counter cultural his calling is, how dangerous choosing to follow him is, how lonely, how disruptive, how … name any adjective a church would absolutely exclude when writing up a PR piece or a minister search profile.
I wonder what would happened if the Church raised the bar, expected, enforced the level of commitment Jesus is articulating? I wonder if I’d measure up? I wonder who would measure up? I don’t envision this as a congregational development plan. Except, that if we changed from a process focused on leadership, life cycles, demographics, facilities, and taught the divine story revealed in scripture, shared our story, and where the two intersect, how our story changes, in our worship, and then beyond, I know Church would be different.
It doesn’t concern me that I can not envision such a process, envisioning is tactics. It scares me that it scares me, that is the edge of faith.