Wednesday, April 22, 2020


Many of us probably think about church as a walled compound like a fortified city or castle. This sort of church is a bounded entity with a space inside it and a great barrier between Christians and non-Christians—a wall. This leads to endless discussions about what non-Christians have to do to get through the wall—presumably through a gate by saying the right password—and what exactly the wall consists of. Church is a gated community. The relationality and personhood of those both inside and outside the wall are neglected.

Alternatively, Christians are all independent entities that gather together consensually to affirm the basis of their gathering. They are like a bag of marbles. They get collected together into the bag for church on Sunday, and then get thrown out of the bag to cannon around for the rest of the week with all the other marbles in the world. (Perhaps they regather in a small bag on Wednesday nights for home group.) Here again the terms of the gathering are to the fore, and the nature of the interactions between the marbles is secondary.—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 63

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