i often wonder what people are looking at? i have been thinking a great deal lately about how we "view" the world around us in relationship to the church. many like to see it as "fallen" and then blame all the problems of the church on a "fallen world." they say, "look at the fallen world and know that we are part of that fallen world, so the church is no different then the world." they hide the abuse of those in the church behind the idea that "the world is fallen" and they ignor the reality that we, as a community of faith, are to be above the world around us, and not use it as an excuse.
as i see it we are changed. when we become a follower of christ, we are not of this world any longer. i love the way paul puts it in his letter to the romans [from the message]. he compares our moving from this world, to christ as moving to another country - he writes, "if we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old houses there? " think about that, if we claim to be new people in christ [moved people], and we say we are following his teachings [in a new land], how can we claim to be "of this world? [living in the old country]" we truly need to see the church as something very different then the world, and we are not to listen to those who claim the "fallen" game of lose. remember what paul says, "when jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. from now on, think of it this way: sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. you are dead to sin and alive to God. that's what jesus did [10-11]." to claim to be living in a new country, and yet live in the old house simply shows you have never moved to start with.
i think what i have come to conclude in my life is that i am looking at a community of faith as something very different from the world around me; a safe place, a loving place, a welcoming place, a non-judging place, a place where you can come and know that you are loved - and know that He is God.