Church shaped hole?

Blaise_Pascal_works_p6There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.

These words words, spoken by Blaise Pascal 350 years ago, are becoming truer in my experience as time goes on

What I always find true is that organised religion, even Christian religion, does not fit the hole.

Which is a shame, as I am a big fan of the church, because the church is where it happens.

As an evangelical I am used to an individualistic form of spirituality, together with a high idealistic view of the Bible. Which is good, as long as we remember that everything is not about the individual. You are not the bride of Christ any more than I am. The Church is the bride of Christ. Christians work best in community.

We read and interpret the Bible in community, it keeps us from going off into heresy by taking things out of context. We pray in community, worship in community, evangelise in community and do social work in community. It is a disadvantage if with getting a high view of the Bible if we lose a high view of the church.

The gates of Hell will not prevail against the church. The experience of God comes through the church.

Yes the church has its faults. The sheer size of the church means that it will tend towards becoming institutionalised. A successful house church, becomes a group of churches, becomes a denomination. And this institution sooner or later fails to fit Pascal’s God shaped vacuum.

Yet despite this, it is through being a community, a church, that we encounter the God that fllls that vacuum.

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