Olympic Pagans?
Are "Hell's Flames Still Hot?

Without Spot or Blemish?

BrideOfChristSomeone showed me this painting a few days ago, and it's got me wondering...

Is this how we see the Church - the bride of Christ? Are we in love with her? Totally committed to her? Proud of her?

Sure, the Church has problems. But rather than "washing" the bride and helping her to clean up (Ephesians 5:25-32), I fear there are still too many of us who would rather "shoot" the bride and get a new one!

It feels to me as if we emerging church leaders need to develop more passion for the bride of Christ. Do you agree or disagree?

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i enthusiastically agree. we must never let our distaste for the institutional church or the evangelical church segue to hate for Christ's church. He started and she will somehow prevail.

I do a lot of American Church criticism. I wish I didn't have to do any. I get no pleasure from it. But what I do I do because I know that we can be better than what we are. I love the Church and want to see her shine and it breaks my heart when the Church here aspires to nothing more than showing up on Sundays. I want to see the Church here be just like the Church in Acts. I hope I see some more of that in my lifetime.

lovely post! Yes, yes, yes.

I agree. It's a nasty temptation to think we should do away with the bride, even if she is a complex and at times bi-polar individual. No, I love the church, it's made up of crazy people just like me and it's important to understand and nurture it despite it's duplicity. I'm immersed in the traditional church now and though we struggle in a small town environment, under the shadow of a mega church (our steroid pumping muscular thigh part of the body!) I see nothing but hope. Midst the old ladies and cups of tea and the humbly small group of generation x'ers there are spring flowers growing, - simple, startling, natural colours are beginning to grow.

This is something I have been a bit convicted on recently. If someone talked about my wife the way some(me included) talked about the church, there would be a fight, and someone would get an ass-whoopin.

At the same time, I find it difficult to think of the church as someone else who isn't as she should be. I am part of the church, and I don't expect anything from the church as a whole unless it would be what you'd have if you extrapolated my life on the scale that the church is gauged. That is, the church corporately can be no better than each of us individually, so I am starting to see critiquing myself as the only real way of constructively critiquing the church.

All points well taken. I've thought a lot about this and agree with you all. I think there's more to it, too. I think as a whole Ephesians is talking about union with Jesus (all those "in Christ" places- the book is full of them). The front part attempts to explain some of what that entails as reality because of who Jesus is and what God has been up to. The back part is about how that will look in the outworking of day-to-day life- not hard and fast rules, but "snapshots" (as my best friend says) of examples. The church already is- Jesus has redeemed her. Is she manifesting her union with Jesus? How does that manifestation look?

I don't like the picture; I'm not sure about all the reasons why. I'll have to think about it. I can see how it could spark your thoughts, DP.

Blessings-
Dana

I wrote an article a while back that touched on this. If I may be so crass as to quote myself:

"Perhaps the biggest task for established churches and newer, de-structured communities (house or coffeehouse), and individuals (like me) will be to remember that this is ultimately God's thing. It's His Bride we're talking about here. God is fully aware of the state the Bride is in. He's more proactive, loving, and desirous of Her being healthy and attractive than any of us are capable of being. The trap we need to avoid is to let this whole (very necessary) process of detoxing from inadequate models of church leadership and church structure to polarize and further divide the very Bride that we're so longing to see come to maturity and health."

pruning hurts

Hi DP! Just catching up on your posts after being completely disconnected while camping... been pondering this one since I read it last night.

Can I split hairs with your metaphors for a moment? What I noticed in the reference to the picture, and in the scripture you mentioned, was that there was no third party mentioned. No wedding consultant. No marriage counselor.

Somehow this discussion has made me feel like the body, the bride of Christ, has been objectified as something "other", something to be cared for, or vilified, or manipulated, as the case may be.

What I see in those metaphors is a call for us to acknowledge together that we ARE the bride of Christ, and that it is Christ who has washed us, His bride, and made us spotless. We are one body - different parts, different functions, different roles, yes, but we are one, the bride.

I'm not sure why this seems so important to me when reading this discussion - may be just my own issues, but I thought I'd throw this out there...

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