What I love about church (and I’m talking about what I think of as church, which isn’t necessarily what I turn up to on a Sunday) are the intimate relationships and the dream of intimate relationships. The idea of having honesty, love, concern, responsibility in a set of relationships. Thinking about these things makes me believe that life as a disciple is possible.
What I hate about church (and I do mean hate!) are the formal shortcuts that lead to relationships that lack the above qualities. I believe that the presence of organisation tempts us to formalise our relationships and encourages us to think that we can treat each other with less grace, it tempts us to think that we don’t have failings, tempts us to look for specks in eyes when we have logs in our own. Formalisation makes us forget our humanity and the centrality of close relationships. We look at the world and see how it operates and we think that we can run the business of church like that, instead of recognising that church isn’t a business, it is people, people who need love, people who need to give love. It’s not what we do, it’s the way that we do it – sometimes we think that the ends justifies the means, that the business is more important than the love.