Tuesday Re-mix –
When it comes to church, how careful are you about whom you are seen with? More importantly, when it comes to church, how careful do you think you should be about with whom you are seen?
I’ve been asking myself that question as I meditated recently on Galatians 2:11-21, the story about Paul confronting Peter because Peter seemed too concerned with what his Jewish brothers from Jerusalem might think about his hanging around with Gentiles in Antioch. Here is how Paul puts it in Galatians 2:12: Before certain men came from James, [Peter] used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
At first blush I didn’t see this as a major problem worth addressing in my church, nor in any other reasonably healthy church. But the more I think about it, the more I tend to believe that we in the American church really do struggle with this (actually I suspect that the church globally struggles with it, but I don’t want to point fingers at my international friends without much more experience than what I have). I believe too many of us come to church as if it were some kind of country club, there for our convenience and happiness. In fact, if it doesn’t make us happy, we might just go to some other church to find happiness. Because that is what we think church is there for…our comfort and happiness.
And let’s be honest, there are a lot of people out there who, by their very presence, make some of us feel unhappy and uncomfortable. They are different or dirty or smell funny or talk funny or they think …