I’m wondering if I need to write an open letter to the churches where I live. It’d probably go something like this:
I am looking for a new place to share fellowship with Christians. Such a place should, of course, be friendly and seeks to connect with the community around them, including the other nearby churches.
However, I am also looking for a place conducive for pushing the boundaries of what the church traditionally teaches. I am not interested in slavish devotion to the words of today’s preferred translation of the Bible. I am not looking for people that decry the degeneration or secularisation of modern society. I am not looking for people afraid of what they don’t know.
Instead, I am looking for a church that genuinely takes inspiration from Jesus’ actions. One that helps people in need rather than tries to make them “christian” first. One that seeks to right real wrongs rather than impose their own rules. One that values actions higher than statements of belief.
A church should be a refuge for the lost and scared, it should not be a haven for the ignorant. I have been church-going for all my life, and have partaken in church teaching for all of that. But I have recently come to the realisation that there is little I have not heard before. Instead, pulpit teaching is firmly rooted in the same conservative fundamentals that I learnt thirty years ago.
The type of church I am looking for is one that is willing to embrace a more progressive agenda. Such a church will not judge people when they don’t fit conservative church-teachings. Such a church will loudly and roundly condemn social injustice, systemic corruption and ecological destruction wherever it sees it. Such a church will seek to defend the weak against the strong. Such a church will constantly question what it believes.
Perhaps you are that kind of church. Perhaps you’re not. But perhaps you want to be.