Friday, March 23, 2018

Going outside

Reading Hebrews 13 at Morning Prayer, I'm struck by how much I naturally want to be On The Inside.  My guess is that this isn't just me.  My guess is that even people who glory in being On The Outside, out of step with society, secretly or not so secretly cultivate a sense that they are On The Inside of something.  Hence all the close-knit little sub-cultures.

But if Hebrews is to be believed, that desire to be On The Inside could keep me from Christ, who was crucified outside the gate.  I think we read this wrong if we imagine that here in the church is the community where we can be On The Inside.  The church is always going to be wandering back into the camp; institutions and communities as well as individuals feel the strong draw of The Inside.  So we are always called to "go to him outside the camp", a constant movement into The Outside that reflects the fact that our citizenship is not here, but is in another city.

Perhaps not coincidentally I read this editorial this morning on my way into town.  Religion is on the retreat.  But what should be our response?
In the past few decades, some parts of the church that tend to reject the trappings of religion have tried desperately to appear “normal”. But for a generation that prizes authenticity, maybe that’s just a turn-off. Rather than being just a slightly rubbish version of the rest of the world, with slightly rubbish coffee and slightly rubbish music, maybe it needs to embrace its difference, its strangeness, its weirdness, its mystery.
Be more weird.  Go outside the camp.  That's where we meet Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. Very good. As Hauerwas (who is far from a hero to me, despite some agreement) has said of Christendom's fall: 'We're free at last. We'd better make the most of it.