God vs. Church
I can remember back in my evangelical days that I'd occasionally run across one of those believers who are sick of other christians and the "church" in general. They proudly proclaim that they've no need to go to church and are perfectly able to worship God anywhere they wish and in their own way. I'd toss out the little proof text from St. Paul (I think?) about not forsaking the gathering together of the brethren...or whatever it was. But beyond that, I had little else to say: it just seemed like God thought it was important according to the Bible. Couldn't really say why - except for some ultra-utilitarian ideas.
There's always more than meets the eye.
Karl presents, in his most recent post, some intriguing thoughts along these lines and Clifton's Revolutions still have him navigating the question of Church as well. And the matter in general continues to inspire Orthodox bloggers around the web, as Huw takes his turn to run with the ball. I really have nothing much else to add to what Karl, Clif, and Huw are saying, excpet to further emphasize the importance of the question at hand.
Church matters in a paramount way, and how we view the Church is as important as how we view the person of Jesus Christ. As Karl notes, the church made it into the creed, which ought to tell us something of its perceived importance to the ancients. You cannot be a Christian and shun the Church as a sort of non-issue. And in turn, if we see the Church as nothing more than a utilitarian institution we even further miss the crux of the matter. It seems to me that if you over-materialize or over-spiritualize the church, you dismiss the church.
Look to the Incarnation...the answer lies therein, in my humble opinion. As Clif has demonstrated before, the question: "What is the Church?" must neccesarily lead to "Where is the Church?"
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 8:47 AM [+]