Thursday, July 15, 2010

Table Fellowship

Liturgical Theologian Gordon Lathrop reminds us that Christianity came into existence as a "meal fellowship." That is, Christianity is not just an idea, or a list of convictions. Rightly understood, it is a specific kind of meeting where a called out people share a meal -- a meal around God's word, a meal around God's communion elements, and a meal we share with the hungry.

This coincides with some of the same ideas that have captured me of late. Church must not, must never, be reduced to an attraction, one more marketed item in the smorgasbord of life events which we can take or leave whenever we wish. No! For, without this meeting, without this meal, there is no Christianity.

This was driven home for me the other day when I learned one of my favorite credentialed theologians to read no longer believes it is necessary to attend church. There would have been a day when this would have been no big deal to me, but today I have to ask do I want to hear the pronouncements of a Christian theologian who cares not for the meeting and the meal? Do I want to think the thoughts after one who is disciplined by academia but not the congregation?

For whom is this author writing if not the church who consumes his books? Why go on the speaking circuit and command Christian dollars if you decide not to be in the trenches as part of the solution, especially in this time during the death of Christendom. It is easy now to cut and run and to do so under the banner of avant-garde ministry, but is this faithfulness?

As I say, for those of us who will switch off the lights in the last church building, it seems a little disingenuous to suck at the teat of Christendom while cutting it's throat.