Sometimes I wish my church was more like my 12-Step group.
People are ‘real’ in my group; they don’t wear masks and they are never ‘fine’. My group’s members show up because they know they are sinners in desperate need of healing and salvation, not because it makes them popular with a subset of society. They show up because they want to, not because they have to or are expected to. People in my group study Scripture as if their lives depended on it, because they do. All the group positions are filled by volunteers; there are no paid positions. In my group if someone is behaving inappropriately they get called on it, quickly but gracefully; people don’t politely ignore sin because they are afraid to cause trouble. Conversely, the men in my group mind their own business and focus on their own relationships with God; they don’t worry about other guys’ programs of recovery. In my group there are rules of conduct that are adhered to by all; no one gets special treatment or license. No one is judged by his race, age, socio-economic status, job title, level of education, or sexual orientation; we are just sinners in need of a savior.
I believe that 12-Step groups are effective at empowering people because they exist on the fringes of society like the earliest followers of “the Way”. Some people say true Christianity died the day it became the official religion of Rome; when it moved away from the fringe toward the center of the greatest empire on earth. When I compare my church to my 12-Step group, I have to wonder if those people are right.
What do you think?