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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Dysfunctional Family of God

The Bible says that the Church is the body of Christ. This is the prevalent picture of the church even though churches want to call themselves families. Maybe that’s why so many churches have problems. They want to act like families. Thus they have:

The Black Sheep. This is the person who has done something that the church refuses to excuse. This person has gone his own way, acting and saying things the church wants to ignore. The Black Sheep calls the members of the church hypocrites because he "honestly" fails at his faith. He says the church just pretends to be faithful to the Lord. The Black Sheep is disruptive.

The Older Brother. The Older Brother tells everyone what to do. He tries to get himself elected to every committee that makes major decisions. He wants to rotate back and forth between the Personnel and Finance Committees. He wants to chair the Deacons. He would love it if he could do all three at once.

The Interfering Mother. The Interfering Mother is never elected to anything. She just wants to stir things up. She is often found in meetings bringing up the sins of others as "prayer requests" because of her feigned concern for them. She works behind the scenes to bring doubt to the integrity of the staff and pastor. She never speaks during business meetings but she has spoken to everyone who will openly oppose the proposals of committees. She is like a dog that barks until she has every other dog in town barking.

The Crying Baby. The Crying Baby isn’t revealed until his wants are unmet. He often complains if he doesn’t get a visit from the pastor while he was in the hospital even though he didn’t let the church know he was in the hospital. He is like the child who throws his bottle on the floor so his parent can pick it up. He repeats this over and over to capture the attention of his parent. Once the parent stops; he cries.

The Younger Brother Who Drinks Too Much. This person is actually a nice guy who is genuinely liked by everyone but no one ever confronts him about his drinking. They are afraid that he will be offended. He is allowed to continue in his problem because they fear that they are being judgmental. After all they all drink a bit (I am talking about sin here; not drinking.). He just does so openly and too much. They are also afraid that confronting him will cause his to stop coming the family reunions (worship meetings).

The Lazy Younger Sister. The Lazy Younger Sister doesn’t inconvenience herself about anything. She likes to go out to eat with everyone but she never pays. She loves to be invited over to a party but never throws one herself. She waits until she is sure that there are no better opportunities before saying she will attend anything. She comes on the Sundays when nothing else is available.

The Rich Uncle. The Rich Uncle is courted by everyone in the church. He gives well and they treat him with kid gloves. They all know that they will have to contribute more if the Rich Uncle stops giving so they want to make sure that he doesn’t. The Rich Uncle is really not the problem. The problem is that the other members treat him differently than they do those who can’t give as well.

Maybe you can see why the Bible makes a point in calling the Church the Body of Christ. A body part that doesn’t function is given physical therapy rather than ignored. A body part that attacks the body is called cancer and is removed. Ignoring either of these conditions can kill a body. A body works together or it doesn’t work properly.

Be the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 (ESV) 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

How interesting!

1. I must NOT be disruptive, rather be constructive
2. I must NOT think to highly of myself, or that I am indispensible.
3. I must NOT be barking until every dog in town is barking.
4. I must NOT act like a deprived kid, or an overbearing attention grabber.
5. I must NOT let my inferiority or imperfection complex get in the way.
6. I must NOT prioritize faith matters last, rather they should be first.
7. I must NOT favor the rich and famous any more than those NOT well-to-do.

Body or family? It is body AND family, I believe. There are no contradictions in likening the pool of believers as a body or as a family. The portrayal of the pool of believers as a body, as correctly pointed by Ps Prentis, is most complete in the passage of 1 Cor 14-26. Gal 6:10 said of the believers as a family or household. 1 Peter 4:17 said that judgment begins with the family or household of God and it is referring to the body of believers. The issue is NOT that “family” should NOT be used on the pool of believers; it is normalcy of what family means or stands for, in today’s societies, is all messed up. What is considered dysfunctional in the past, is now considered normalcy! For example, a family today is no longer necessarily a man and a woman and a couple of kids; it can be a man and a man or a woman and a woman and kids! Another common occurrence: the “mechanics” in family is NO longer viewed as separate from those operating in a business enterprise which is governed with “what’s in it for me” attitude.

The body, as in a human body, on the other hand, is more inert to change (more inert only; NOT that it is NOT at all subject to depravation over time, especially with all kinds of “genetic” engineering going on), and so, as a representation, it holds its value better. If people do NOT mess with God’s idea of a body, even the family, either body or family can still be used parabolically to refer to believers, collectively.