Meanwhile, here is my entry:
I know it’s a strange analogy, but I hope the church can become more like a bar. Now hear me out, a bar is perceived as a place where people, for whatever reason, can go to be refreshed, be able to “let their hair down” and be real, and a place where there seems to be no judgment. You can be honest about your problems and still be accepted in that place of business.
On the other hand, so many report their distancing themselves from the church because they feel judged, unlistened to, and a sense that you have to have everything in your life cleaned up before you can be a part of the church. And the perception is that the church is the last place where you would go to be free of your burdens, your problems, or your hope.
So what if the church really was more like a bar? What if it was the church where everyone new your name and really welcomed you. What if it was the church where you could go and not have to wear a false mask? Where you could open up about your problems and concerns? What if the church were the place where people didn’t feel they were being judged?
My hope for the church is that WE, rather than some bar, become that place of honesty, of welcome, of acceptance, of listening, of freedom, and of hope!