I've been thinking a lot lately about what a church is, should be and could be (in a Christian context, at least). I've been at my current church (First Baptist Church of Los Altos) for more than 10 years now, was married there and seen many friends and family members baptized there.
As such I am rather commited to this community. Yet, many times and particularly lately I wonder whether we live up to what God had in mind. In my idealistic view, a church should be very much a family, providing stability, closeness, guidance, reproof when it is in order, and even material assistance when it is needed. Examples of this abound in the New Testament. And from a political view, I see churches as a primary competitor to the government, not in a direct "revolutionary" sense, but in the sense that people should look to churches to provide many things that governments would like or do provide on their own. If churches truly did provide for the poor, or give education to their members or even better proclaim moral guidance, the case for removing such "responsibilities" from the purview of government would almost make itself.
I know that no earthly church will be perfect, but we seem so far off now. Most of the relationships seem superficial, even good sermons seem to avoid some of the hardest truths about our lack, and even when the message is right, the actions never seem to follow. I am sure that much of the disconnect I feel with my bretheren is because of my own lack of action. So what can I and the rest of the congregation do?
Just first thoughts for now... Leave a comment if you have any ideas.