What does church have to do with anything, anymore?
"The thing is, that you and I and all of us--even when we don't accept it, I mean, or understand--it is that God created us in such a way that I can't be human on my own. I wouldn't know how to walk as a human being; I wouldn't know how to think; I wouldn't know how to speak; I wouldn't know how to be a human being except by learning from other human beings. And so, our humanity is bound up with one another's."
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Craig Ferguson,
The Late Late Show, March 4, 2009.
Some people think of a Christian as one who necessarily believes certain things. That Jesus was the son of God, say. Or that Mary was a virgin. Or that the Pope is infallible. Or that all other religions are all wrong.
Some think of a Christian as one who necessarily does certain things. Such as going to church. Getting baptized. Giving up liquor and tobacco. Reading the Bible. Doing a good deed a day.
Some think of a Christian as just a Nice Guy.
Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) He didn't say that any particular ethic, doctrine or religion was the way, the truth and the life. He said that he was. He didn't say that it was by believing or doing anything in particular that you could "come to the Father." He said that it was only by him--by living, participating in, being caught up by, the way of life that he embodied, that was his way.
Thus it is possible to be on Christ's way and with his mark upon you without ever having heard of Christ, and for that reason to be on your way to God though maybe you don't even believe in God.
A Christian is one who is on the way, though not necessarily very far along it, and who has at least some dim and half-baked idea of whom to thank.....
The visible church is all the people who get together from time to time in God's name. Anybody can find out who they are by going to look.
The invisible church is all the people God uses for his hands and feet in this world. Nobody can find out who they are except God.
Think of them as two circles. The optimist says they are concentric. The cynic says they don't even touch. The realist says they occasionally overlap......"
A Theological ABC
Harper San Francisco, 1973