My previous post on this passage, which I’m preaching from this Sunday, has really been working on my heart. Just thinking about the ‘girl with the dirty skirt’ (aka the church) and whether this American girl is embodying Jesus’ command to let the little children come has brought me to mornful yet hopeful prayer and confession. I think we’re failing, at least many of the churches doors I’ve dawned upon. We are so segregated ethnically, politically, economically, and even by class; whats worst we’re comfortable in it. My own denomination’s churches are checkered by this, as I’m sure your denomination or missional network are as well.

What happens when the disciples, ie us, work against Jesus’ politics of the kingdom? Listen in on Joel Green’s further reflections on Luke 18:15-17;

“Failing to understand how the inbreaking kingdom undermines and supplants conventional canons of honor and status, the disciples fail to grasp God’s concern fro those held in lowest regard, fail to comport themselves with humility so as to share that concern, and fail to function as Jesus’ agents. Having refused to extend respectful service to the socially marginalized, having misconstrued the nature of the kingdom, how will they ever enter it?” (pg. 652)

Before I reflect further I want to mention how thankful I am for people like Philip Jenkins who’ve argued persuasively that the center of the churches presence and force has shifted from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere; that Jesus bride is not as checkered faced as she appears here in the North, elsewhere.

There is a lot of talk about the Post-Christian situation of the church in the West, much of it centering around discussions of the churches numerical and cultural decline. To be sure I think these things are indicative of her today, but I would add that what ought to concern us even more is the absence of her welcoming in the “little children.” For if she closes her community-doors to them, she in turn has undone her very identity…“for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

Thoughts, reflections, criticisms…anyone?

(Photographic art by Wolfgang Staudt, piece title “Church of Bodie”)