Rick wrote an interesting post on his site discussing what Jesus would do with the church. I've wondered many of these same things over the last few years. Would He be as proud of the things the Church has done as we are? What does He really want?
This line of discussion highlights another similar discussion my brother-in-law and I had recently. We're both currently stationed overseas, he in Italy and me in Germany. We went to Rome back in January of 2007 with our families to see the usual sites. This trip involved a visit to St. Peter's Basillica. At first I was struck by the grandure and the history of the place. I mean, I stood right on the spot where Charlemagne was crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor. All the marble, the statues, the reliefs...it's very easy to be swept up in the place. But then an uneasy feeling swept over me. What is it all for? What would Jesus think of this place? How much money was spent building this place? How many lives could have been bettered, how many more missionaries sent off to the lost, how many more widows and orphans taken care of? I can't help but feel this in every cathedral we visit now. Some say these churches are so grand in order to help the visitor look to and imagine the grandure of God. I say we can see that in the face of every new sinner who gives his life to the Lord at the altar. The tears streaming down their eyes are much more beautiful than the biggest pipe organ in the world could ever be.
Unfortunately, I see some of the same in America. How "nice" does a church have to be in order to make God happy? Is there a minimum standard? I'm positive there are plenty of open-air churches and churches with no walls in Africa more alive, more vital, and more relavant, than many of our grand churches here in the states. It's the people that make the church...not the building.