Having been convicted by the preevious article, you went ahead and dug out your Gold Stamp booklet and trudged off to church. Once there you opened your Gold Stamp booklet and had one of the ushers affix a Gold Stamp on the “Church Attendance” page. At the break you shook over five hands and so you opened the Gold Stamp booklet to the “Fellowship” page and affixed a Gold Stamp. Later you complemented the pastor on his sermon and so he graciously affixed a Gold Stamp on the “Submission To Church Authority” page of your Gold Stamp booklet. Upon arriving home, you looked in your Bible and read a passage (“Jesus wept”), before placing it under the stack of TV guides next to your favorite chair, and so you opened your Gold Stamp booklet and affixed a Gold Stamp on the “Personal Devotions” page. Before putting away the Gold Stamp booklet, you skimmed through it and were chagrined to see that there were far more empty Gold Stamp spaces than Gold Stamps. Thus you tossed the Gold Stamp booklet into your sock drawer and decided to forget the whole thing since it was a losing game in the first place.
Well, there’s good news. Gold Stamp booklets won’t do you any good anyhow. Church attendance isn’t about earning enough Gold Stamps to get into heaven – it’s about getting heaven into you. It’s about watching heaven and earth meld into one while living there. It’s about ditching your lonely and miserable life and joining a new kingdom and a new family where Gold Stamp booklets of any stripe don’t belong. It’s about losing a sorry past and gaining a new history and a new heritage. It’s about touching reality and taking it with you when you go back home. Church is people – living, breathing, working, laughing, crying, ALIVE people. People who have been ransomed from the clutches of the evil dragon by the Hero of the story and who have been given the opportunity to join His tribe. Rules and regulations? Sure, any family has rules (for example, at our house we don’t throw our food on the floor for the dogs to eat), but those rules only apply if you’re part of the family, they don’t make you part of the family. In the mean time it’s all about participating in the Grand Adventure along side other members of the new family – the new tribe.
Maybe your Church experience has been more Gold Stamp than Grand Adventure. Well, did you do anything about it? Or did you just thumb your nose at the whole mess and dedicate your life to collecting M&M wrappers and watching exercise videos. You see, there may not be too many churches out there that are living the Grand Adventure; but that’s your fault and mine. People need a Grand Adventure to be a part of (hence the popularity of the “Lord Of The Rings”), and it’s what life in the new age of Jesus Christ is all about. Yet, unless somebody starts burning the Gold Stamp booklets, this generation might miss out on it altogether.