a friend recently lent me a book to read while traveling to irvine. it was my first time there (irvine); california is always nice to those of us who live without palm trees.
the book’s first page hit me square in the stomach. here’s the quote:
“As He hung on the cross, Jesus probably never thought the impact of His sacrifice would be reduced to an invitation for people to join and to support an institution.” (The Present Future – Six tough questions for the church; Reggie McNeal)
this line has stuck with me ever since i read it nearly a month ago now, more so than anything else i picked up in the book’s remaining 147 pages. is this really what we’ve made of Jesus’ death and resurrection? a way to separate us from them, the believers from the non-believers? like some worn out, unfashionable ‘members only’ jacket? something that’s really unattractive to those without it, and yet something those of us with it hold on to just because we’ve been doing so for so long?
i know i’ve been guilty of this. a few years back i got up the courage to talk about my faith to a non-believing friend, and what did i do? i invited her to church; after all, they had really good music. not surprisingly, she turned it down. she said “that is fine for you, but not for me.” looking back, what i really wanted to introduce her to was Jesus, and what He has done in my life. instead, i offered her some cheap invitation to a club. a club that’s probably hurt her many, many times.
shame on me for reducing the Cross to a club invite. He is so much more than that.