Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. Hebrews 13:13
“Hi, my name is John, and I’m a sinner.”
That’s the way church should begin. Before the Call to Worship; before the opening hymn — even the Invocation. Church should start with, “Hi, my name is John, and I’m a sinner,” to which the entire congregation responds in a resounding voice, “Hi John!” as if to say, “We get it, John. We’re sinners, too. You’re one of us! You’re at home here!”
Wouldn’t that make you feel good? Wouldn’t that make you feel better than if you were with a congregation of well-behaved righteous people all doing the right thing at the right time?
You see, it’s somewhat disgraceful to go to an AA meeting. A lot of people who should be going to AA don’t, because of that very reason: it’s a disgrace. They’re too proud. You only go if you hit bottom. As Bob Dylan sings, “When you got nothin’, you’ve got nothin’ to lose.” Going to AA is an announcement that your life has become unmanageable. You need help. And being disgraced doesn’t matter anymore because you already tanked your pride getting there.
Isn’t that a little like meeting Christ “outside the camp” where we share the disgrace He bore? And what is that disgrace if it isn’t our sin, and the fact that we need help? And what kind of people do we meet there? Other people who are familiar with the bottom, and totally indebted to God’s grace for everything that really matters in their lives. Call them “outside the camp” people. They are what we all come to be in Christ. What if it was a disgrace to go to church? Well then, perhaps we should all meet outside the camp where disgrace becomes grace turned outward.
One of our Catch citizens has written a book I highly recommend called God is Loser Friendly by Tim Callaway. He’s got it. It’s a book for “Outside the camp” people and you can find it on Amazon.