a church or a circus?

Every few years we go to a circus. 

         I always enjoy the trapeze stunts – that’s usually pretty amazing. 

         I hate the clowns.  I could totally skip the clowns. 

         And the part that always makes me sad is the lions:

         They roll them out in their train of cages, walking so slowly, doing their tricks, jumping through hoops, standing on balls, swatting at insignificant little batons, opening their huge jaws but not using their teeth, walking around in circles, putting on a show.  Some people clap.  Most people yawn.   (Something inside us knows: this isn’t what God had in mind when he made lions). 

         A few years ago two famous “lion tamers” who performed in Vegas were doing their regular act when one of these giant cats (I think they were actually Siberian tigers) just snapped.  It mauled and nearly killed one of the men in the cage.  (I’m not trying to be unsympathetic. If you’re a fan, I’m sorry.  No offense intended.  I know it was a real tragedy.)  But when I read about that, something inside me said, It’s about time.  There’s a lion who remembered who he was created to be.  You’re a lion!  Be a lion!  You weren’t meant to walk around in silly circles and jump through insignificant hoops.  If some dude with tight pants and a whip sticks his head in your mouth, you ought to rip it off. 

The church has become like caged lions.  We’re doing our tricks, jumping through hoops, swatting at insignificant little batons, arguing about and fighting over things that don’t really matter, opening our mouths but not using our teeth.  We’re worried about putting on a show. Some people clap.  Most yawn.  (Something inside us knows: this isn’t what God had in mind when he made the Church). 

I long for us to be free again.  To be un-caged.  To be fierce in our passion and wild in our compassion.  To be an undeniable presence in our city…because we’re making a difference for good.  And to press hard into real relationships with one another, to have real conversations with each other, where maybe we get a little bloodied but we’re grateful because it made us better – because we spoke the truth in love.  And we kept on loving.  I long for the church to be the church… to be a movement of healing…to be a community of hope… called out ones, united together, rushing into the hells of this earth to rescue the suffering, blessed to be a blessing to the whole world… 

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