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Journal

What is the church?

Mark Junkans

Suburban America is a society of fences and private tract homes into which each family retreats, locks the door, pulls the drapes, and sits down to watch television for the next forty years, hoping no one interrupts.
The "New Society" (the kingdom community, Christ's New Testament dream of the church) contradicts and challenges this pattern. . . Too long the church has just gone along with the world's way of not relating to one another. The church has decided not to disturb the status quo for fear of offending people who want to keep their privacy and loneliness. But we have been called to reject that life-style - to move into Christ's New Society. To be a house for priests! A society of ministers! A family of new people who really care for each other!
When the church gathers, as the New Testament tells it, it is the happy gathering of a loving family at the supper table. Its ministry when gathered is described in Scripture like a smorgasbord, a potluck supper, what the church used to call a 'love feast' or 'agape.'
It is not one expert cook preparing one dish for everyone. It is each person bringing to the supper what he or she has prepared - the thing each does best . . . All share, all eat, all are fed (Brethren. Hang Together. pp.132-I 33).