Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Church and America

It's been said that the best argument for Christianity is the Church, but also that the best argument against Christianity is the Church. The idea of the Christian Church, as I understand it, is that it is the breaking-in of the Kingdom of God into this world. And yet, whenever you look the Church is doing something abominable or at least mundane.

It occurs to me that there is a great parallel between the Church as bearer of the Kingdom of God and America as bearer of Liberty. When you look at the history of the United States -- that is, when you look at any particular time -- we're always, and I mean always, doing something that is simply attrocious. And yet, I think the record is clear that over time our trajectory is toward Liberty.

You could look at the history of the United States as a continual process of the people our country struggling against the government to gain their freedom, and I don't think that's wrong, but the beauty of it is that somewhere, at least as far back as the Magna Carta and possibly dating all the way to the Exodus, someone built Liberty into the heart of a machine of injustice.

And that, I think, is also the mystery of the Church. The Church (institutional and otherwise) is deeply flawed, but it carries within it the seeds of the Gospel and, although the Church itself is constantly warring against its own purpose, it is also constantly bringing forth the fruits of the Kingdom of God.


Pastor David said...

Wow. I certainly had thought of the church that way, but had never carried that wat of thinking over to our country. I'll have to ponder this some more. But I think it is a useful analogy. By the way, nice to seem some new posts here - I Always enjoy your thoughtful and insightful reflections.

Andy said...

Hi David,

Thanks for the encouragement. I go through stretches of laziness about blogging, but I love the pseudo-community that blogging creates and the interactions it allows.