As I am reading Acts I am confronted with "the church" at every turn. This is hard for me. I know congregational ministry is how my bills are paid every month. But, truth be told, it is hard for me. I have often joked to David that church gets in the way of my faith all the time. Many jokes are told with truth lingering just below the surface.
I am in the middle of a conversation right now with a friend about his discouragement with organized religion. He is struggling with how to be a Christian without the trappings of church. I have been there. I am not a huge fan of the institution. I want to break the rules. I thrive in change. Creativity and reinvention are what sustain me. None of these are traits that the church is known for.
So, what now? Here is what I believe to be true. One can certainly be a Christian and live in an isolated situation. However, I don't really think we can be spiritually formed or have our faith refined unless we are prepared to live in community with others. There is just nothing that softens the edges quite like having to deal with people that take patience. And taken one step further as we are called to do in the community of faith...nothing softens the edges quite like learning to love people who are different to ourselves.
And so, as Acts keeps reminding me, God adds us to communities of faith because He knows that is where we are most transformed into His image.