Last fall, I was invited to be part of a Christianity Today International’s Hope for the Church project. An idea that encourages Christians to think more about what the church should be for, instead of against. I was happy to take part in this–especially since my role was simply to think up a hope (not hard, I have many!) and shares it with a camera crew for the video-project part of this. You can see the result here.
Of course, the soundbite version of this hope—that church is a place where all people are welcome—is easy to say, but hard to live out. And yet, it’s something that I’ve felt a pressing, urgent need for and a pressing, urgent calling toward for some years.
I share two stories in Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. that kicked off this calling. In one story, I find myself annoyed at a homeless man (!) sleeping on a pew before my brother’s wedding. Another is a story about me catching myself nearly scowling at a young woman in a rather provocative outfit at my own church.
In both instances, my conviction of my own sin and inhospitality in God’s house hit me hard (though, obviously I needed a couple of doses to really get the point!). Since then, I’ve been super aware of the ways we as a church ostracize. Sometimes in big ways–by seemingly non-stop public haranguing of certain groups. Sometimes it’s in small way–by simply not being a friendly church, by not saying hi to new people.
Whatever the way or the reason, I do hope that church becomes a place where all sinners are welcome. At least as welcome as all sinners are with Jesus.