I met tonight with the Finance Committee of our church to look over the budget for 2004. I continue to be reminded in these settings how much I dislike the institutional nature of the church, even while knowing it’s a necessary evil. The meeting was fine, with good questions raised and good thoughts arising. But one can’t help but dream what church would be like if we hadn’t been coopted by the need for buildings, money, etc.
I think what gets me is the ongoing tension in myself between the recognition of church as institution versus the desire for church as community. Of course, any community requires institutionalism as a means of ensuring the well being of the community. But the balancing line between that of using the tools of institution to maintain the function of the community and that of becoming a self perpetuating institutional albatross is small. I want to experience church in the 2nd Chapter of Acts, communitarian mode. And yet, I know that just a few pages later the realities of institutionalism started to creep in.
I wish I could say that I had all sorts of ideas how to get beyond this. I don’t. But it helps to get it off my chest.