Is the Church Just Hooking Up with Jesus?

Oct 15th 2009

I know.  That phrase has a variety of definitions.  You could be “hooking up” a computer.  Not talking about that one.  A decade or two ago, it meant connecting with a friend over coffee or a beer.  But today — especially in the college culture — it has a new meaning.  The meaning is still somewhat vague and many who use it like it that way.  But the most common definition is that “hooking up” refers to some sort of casual sexual encounter with no future commitment to maintaining a relationship.

So yesterday I blogged a bit about living together before marriage (see As Long As…) but I ended by sharing my conviction that sometimes it seems like that’s how we view our relationship with God.  So I just wanted to ponder that thought a bit more with the question…

“Is the church just trying to hook up with Jesus?”

In the New Testament book of Ephesians, Paul calls the church the “bride of Christ.”  But I wonder if sometimes we — the church — aren’t more interested in a casual relationship that meets our needs but has little future commitment to maintaining a relationship. For example…

1) I’m not against church shopping — to some extent.  My core conviction is that there is just one church in the region and if that’s the case then church shopping is more like trying to figure out what lifegroup you fit with best.  But on the other hand, I wonder if church hopping has an element of cohabitation to it?  I’ll hang out here as long as Jesus meets my needs while I’m here — or until you offend me and I’m tired of you saying you’re sorry — or until I see something better.

2) How about when it comes to activities like giving and serving?  If we are married to Jesus, committed for life…what does giving and serving look like, as opposed to if we are just taking a trial run?

3) Relationships are different when a commitment for life is made, right?  If we are not committed for life, my motivation for reconciliation is minimized, because frankly sometimes in the moment, it’s just easier to move on.

4) In my relationship with Lynn I’ve found that so much good has come from the endurance of hope, and growth over time.  We’ve been married 25 years.  My stomach aches to think of all I would’ve missed if at any point I or she had said, “I quit.”  I wonder if this is the way it is in our relationship with Jesus, the church’s relationship with Jesus, and yes our relationship with the church.  It requires the endurance of hope and growth over time to get to the real treasures.

So…Jesus wants to be our one and only.  He is not looking for a casual relationship.  He is looking for radical passion, courageous surrender, humble endurance, love over the long haul, and whole-hearted commitment.  Because sooner or later a half-way commitment gets really messy.