I started blogging with a rule to myself to never apologize for a post, but maybe the previous post deserves an apology, if nothing else, for the fact that it was poorly written and confusing.
I probably shouldn’t care what people say about de-churched people. Heck I’m not even sure if I am one. But I might be. It probably depends on who you ask and where you set the requirements. Even while attending church, I have always identified with the de-churched.
As long as you believe that the de-churched are idealist church shoppers who are too wounded and independent to get involved with you because they only like their buddies, you can just write them off. I mean really, why else wouldn’t they want to be a part of your deal?
The bounded set-centered set example is sometimes used as a way to view people’s spiritual journey and salvation without the traditional hard lines of deciding who is in and who is out. That’s kind of how I feel about church. If you have a bounded-set church definition, I probably fall outside your lines. Whatever you have decided qualifies as “real church” probably disqualifies me.
With a centered-set definition of church, believers are in the process of finding where they fit in the body and the people that they are to be connected to at this moment in time. A centered-set definition of church encourages relationships across congregational lines, it encourages relationships with not-yet believers, and it allows for a fluidity of relationship that is resilient to changes in life and circumstances.
A centered-set view of church is more concerned that people find the relationships that they should be connected with at this time than it is with making sure that they are on the membership roll of an organization. It’s less about commitment or lack of commitment to a specific group and more about unity and devotion to people.
Just as I believe the Spirit is always at work drawing people to Jesus, I also trust that He is at work connecting people in the Body. Because of that, I don’t want to assume what that is supposed to look like for someone else. Even if they might be in a phase of missing it, I want to encourage them that God will hook them up where He wants them to be.
Hopefully this isn’t confusing too. :)
HT to Bill for the term De-ICed, love it!