I no longer take the culture of the church as seriously as I did. I don’t fear their judgment. I don’t take their praise seriously. The church is a very, very good earthly organization that almost exists as a “para church” organization alongside Jesus’ bride (even I would have to read that last sentence twice).
– Donald Miller
I’ll add a few thoughts here — ancillary, yes, but thoughts that are nonetheless highly significant: “the church” is really not an organization at all. To put quotes around “the church” in this context almost makes it seem as if there is only one institutional church, which is clearly not the case.
Often, when reporters in the public eye use such terminology, it is capitalized either in print or in thought, and it refers to the Roman Catholic Church. Since Donald Miller’s personal framework is not primarily the Roman institution, it seems he might be using “the church” to refer either
- to a theoretical grouping of all denominations splintered from the trunk — which would beg him to explain how it is a “very, very good” organization, or
- to the reality that is God’s church, in which case his distinction between “para church” and “Jesus’ bride” isn’t clear
I suspect the former option, and I further suspect that I’m a lot more particular about the word “church” than Donald is, or than many of my readers are.
His main thrust — the decreased, secondary importance of the religious subculture’s feedback, is well taken.