The Language We Use – Part 2

1. A lack of concern for our spirituality outside of the buildings we go to

This actually goes back to a post I put up a few months ago where I discussed our compartmentalization in our spiritual lives and I find that our language of “going to church” emphasizes that even more. In a sense we oftentimes believe that the place we go to worship has a more “spiritual” aspect to it, that it is more “holy” than other places.
I worked at a very small church in Virginia while I was finishing up college as the worship pastor/college pastor and it was a very sweet time. But Sarah and I were the youngest people by 10 years and that was only one other couple. Everyone else was at least 2-3 decades older than us. In any case, I was often reprimanded for hurdling the altar railing to get to the stage or for wearing my hat in the sanctuary (it was okay downstairs, but not “the sanctuary”). I was not allowed to wear shorts or t-shirts, etc. Of course I complied respectfully but I just didn’t understand at all where they were coming from.

This is what I want to warn against. When we begin to exalt a space, we forget that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, not any building. Working with the youth group I often hear the term “you can’t do that in church!” But by saying such things, we are saying that there are things that are okay outside the church but not okay inside, as though the building somehow is where God dwells, instead of seeing that it’s within us that God dwells. We can’t get away from “the sacred space”, it is always with us because it is us. If our conscience says not to wear a hat inside a church because it’s somehow “sacred” we should never wear a hat because we ourselves are a sort of “sacred space”. Is this not what Paul means when he says (albeit in response to sexual immorality but applies here), “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Cor 6:19-20)?Of course there are many issues that offshoot from this but my main point is that instead of bringing our idea of “church” down to the level of our daily lives, we should exalt our daily lives to the level of “church”, since that is who we are.

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One response to “The Language We Use – Part 2

  1. I think I have already commmented on this post somewhere…but…you are dead-on man!

    It seems tremendously easy to get caught up in “spiritual things” and “non-spiritual things.” As if one’s occupation of scrubbing toilets to support his/her family were somehow less sacred occupation than that of a pastor. When, in reality, as followers of Christ, they are both working for the glory of Jesus Christ.

    It reminds me of a time when I was riding a Greyhound bus from Iowa to Virginia listening to the guy sitting next to me. He had been cursing up until he found out that I was going to school to study the Bible, then he appologized for the way he had been speaking and practically stopped talking to me altogether!

    It saddened me to think that because I was a Christian he would think that I no longer cared for his company! Unfortunately at that time I wasn’t sure how to respond…and we sat in silence until we politely parted ways…

    It seems like we “Christians” have trained those around us to believe that we do not care even for people who are “sinners” and “unclean”…but ironically we were ,at one point, just like them…and I would submit that, we still are all too often in that “unspiritual” box.

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