We expend a lot of thought into what the church is. For some of us, the Bible gives a very clear definition of this subject, for other sit is difficult to talk about such a precise definition. However, apart from its general definitions, the unchangeable truth of the church is that it is made up of people. The church is human. The unity of people and the values, traditions and common spirt that this unity produces for the service and worship of the Lord can be evaluatedin the top five of what defines the church. Of course, it is not possible for the church, whose building block is human, to move forwar dwithout struggling with human problems.
And yet I’ve been thinking mostly about our red lines lately. Or I have to think about them. Apart from the inevitable clashes in relationships between siblings, it is mostly on situations where red lines touch each other, comfort zones are invaded, or hostile feelings arise.
Do all brothers/sister love each other? I’m not asking if he should, I am asking do they love each other? Of course, there will be those who will say no. Of course, we may think that there will be brothers and sisters with whom we have problems or with whom we get along less than others. But my main concern here is lack of love, or even planned evil towards someone. Is such a thing possible in church? I suppose it’s not that hard for those who have spent many years in the church setting to say yes to this. At this point, I do not want to take up the long and useless discussion of who is a brother and who is not. The situation is so dire that we try to find our way without stepping on the red lines like that famous map of the London subway. Of course, we are still trying to protect our own lines. These lines are the result of our lifelong experience, conflict and personal development process. I don’t think most of them are part of the change expected in us after meeting Christ. Because I believe that it is more than a fait accompli that the human being, whose bone structure is not very open to change, and where behavioral and social changes take place more often, is subject to a total purification in the church. Therefore, our red lines are actually our selfish boundaries that resist the work of Christ in us, and certainly create conflict with others (brothers). And whether we are aware of their existence or not, this is how we fill the useless gaps of the structure we call the church. It is important that the church is kept free of empty spaces. However, this is not a structure filled with red lines.
Let’s open the red lines issue a little bit. The first step is taken by criticizing others, praising oneself, and categorizing what we “deserve”. At that point, I and the others are creating the truth and developing feelings and thoughts about how the church or the services involved should be on the lines I want. This is starting to reflect in my relationships. Then I identify (or even create if it doesn’t exist) a theological side that I draw from appropriate and perhaps quite solid sources. I exercise a controlling and inconsistent rule over everything that this little dominion I have created in myself comes into contact with. I create frictions and then open rivalry with brothers and sisters. I am important. This is my motto or life motto. Mistakes of others turn into hostility of others, and after a while their existence becomes a problem. This is the process I’m talking about, not a complete isolation. I am able to maintain some relationships that will feed “me”. It doesn’t matter where the church is dragged or what it lacks. It creates a spiritual atmosphere that is doomed to conflicts and their consequences, and the worst thing is that I am the one who complains the most. Because I am still important.
Does the ministry work without me? Might the church remain unhealthy without my values and their contribution? If I don’t explain, will others understand? Can what is right or wrong be chosen without my judgment? Finally we come to these questions. Church means the red lines I draw. In case of disagreement, I stretch those lines straighter, thicker, almost like a wall, and go on the defensive. Sometimes I make them sharp and hard and attack. We are all exposed to or become the subject of similar conflicts from time to time.
What does church actually mean? I don’t want to be so ambitious as to pinpoint a theological truth to it. However, I have experienced this; First of all, the church is not a place that will continue to exist and where you can contribute by insisting on “I”. By giving up our red lines, we can all enrich the church and give a boost to our spiritual growth. The Church, of course, exists for all to benefit, be healed, and grow. But this does not mean pushing others away and imposing ourselves, blaming others in every conflict, letting others disappearbbecause of our comfort zones, and creating an unnecessary agenda with “without me” questions. In the most cliché terms, we are the church, and the church is for us. A church that increases itsgreen lines is beneficial for the whole world.