From the author of Blue Like Jazz

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.

2 thoughts on “From the author of Blue Like Jazz

  1. John Eoff 08/01/2014 / 7:33 am

    Brian, church is a very good organization from the standpoint of the economy. It stimulates the money flow around the world in practically every category: building construction, maintenance, utilities, employment, deliver service, advertising, etc.etc., but sadly, no taxes paid for the benefits enjoyed from municipalities.


    • Brian Casey 08/01/2014 / 7:50 am

      Personally, I wouldn’t have called “the church” (whatever that is — I assume the author was referring to all churches combined) a “good organization” at all. I think he was probably being nice. I don’t have too much concern with whether they continue to play the role they’ve played for decades and centuries. If they didn’t exist at all, God’s Kingdom would still be the ultimately dominant factor, and “Jesus bride” would still exist.

      As for taxes, hmm. I’m upset enough with the country’s tax structure, feeling it is about 186,000% too complicated. You make the point that some liberal pundits make — that churches should be paying taxes. I don’t guess I have much of an opinion either way on whether they should or shouldn’t. My guess is that that whole 501(c)(3) thing won’t be around many more decades.

      On Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 7:33 AM, NT Christianity wrote:



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