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The Church is Not a Human Institution

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Published on Nov 18, 2014

The Church is full of hypocrites. The Church is irrelevant. The Church is judgmental. And, when folk express their disgust for the Church, people often want to remind you that "the Church is a human institution, filled with sinners." I guess that's supposed to be an excuse?

Here I am, a priest in the Church and I can’t stand “church.” It disgusts me. The hypocrisy, the judgment, the pretension. It’s sickening. There are more than enough examples of shenanigans in the Church. It’s a show. It’s entertainment. Or, it’s downright boring. In either case, it’s a far cry from the Gospel. I completely understand why folk don’t want to go to church.

The Church is a horrible place!

I know: I’m an idealist. That’s what people tell me. I’ve been told that I expect too much from the Church. When I speak of its failures and shortcomings, I’m often reminded by folk that “the Church is a human institution.” I’m told that it is filled with sinners. Somehow that’s supposed to explain why the Church is such a crappy place.

But that doesn’t make sense!

I refuse to believe that the Church is supposed to be subject to human brokenness. I mean, in Jesus Christ, the human and the Divine came together. We say that Jesus is fully human and fully divine. Yet, Jesus’ humanity didn’t corrupt His divinity. So, why is it ok to believe that our humanity would corrupt the Lord’s divinity?

The Church: For the Life of the WorldIn his text, For the Life of the World, Alexander Schmemann states that Christianity was not supposed to be a religion. Christianity is supposed to transcend religion…the Way of Christ is supposed to be greater than mere religion. The Church should be a better place. And, it must be a better place. That isn’t idealism. That’s the Gospel. That is the mystery of the Faith.

Don’t let anyone tell you that the Church is a human institution. A human institution can’t save us. A human institution cannot reveal Christ to the world.

The Church is not a human institution. And, in this sermon I show why that excuse is a copout.

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