I feel like there is a disconnect in the logic that may be advanced by the "sterotypical" church. In all these solutions to the inevitable extinction of the church, is there a point where the boundary has been so extended that the original entity is something entirely different?
I think that's the point of church. The church is continually called to reach to people outside of it. In essence, the entire point of its very existence is to engage people outside of its walls, not cater to the comforts of those already in.
Therefore, with each new person included, the church will look different than it did before. And that's the beauty of it. And that's also where the struggle is. That's why we see Paul's theology and proclamations differ to each community he writes. That's why some ideas contradict each other in the second half of the New Testament. As time passes, needs change.
Matt goes on to ask,
As for the concept of blessing love in every form, maybe it's just me but it doesn't seem silly to affirm relationships like those that unfold on Dateline's "To Catch a Predator"?
Is this the slippery slope so many people warn me about? I don't think the church (or anyone) should bless pedophilia. I think that's a manifestation of an eros-centered love and is not on par with the recommendations I made in my last post. If that's the natural next step between what I suggest and what could really happen, then I'm curious as to the train of thought that got you there.
In sum, the church is called to be a redemptive force in the world, not a bouncer to the kingdom of God. While Matt has had great church experiences (as have I), there are many who have not. Sure, well-intentioned people may have inadvertently misbehaved and excluded many. But this is the very reason we need corrective actions such as valuing creativity and blessing love. Whether it was intended or not, the Bible has been used to exclude people some thought needed to be excluded. And over time, the lines blurred as to what Scripture intended and what individuals did in the name of fear. If the church is to truly live out its call to help others, this has to be stopped.