A hospital is a dangerous place. Diseases, traumas, and pain all concentrate into one place. If you are healthy and visit you risk catching a disease. If you are very sick you risk contracting an illness that will hasten your demise.

At the same time, a hospital is a place of life. Diseases are treated, traumas are reduced and pain is relieved.

Atrium in the Toronto General Hospital

Atrium in the Toronto General Hospital

To reduce the risk, sterilizing of place and equipment must be carefully attended to. Personal hygiene becomes vitally important. And proper procedures must be developed, and followed, to reduce the possibility of diseases being spread, traumas worsened or pain not dealt with effectively.

As I sat in the hospital, on duty, it crossed my mind that exactly the same can be said of congregations.

There every sin humans commit, every temptation people face and every distraction from the Saviour congregate in the one place. Congregations are dangerous places where people are brutalized and abused, traumatized and dealt with inappropriately.

However, if the congregation practices proper “disinfection” the story can turn out differently. If safeguards against sexual abuse, power-tripping, and religious idolatry are applied The Head of the Church may dominate congregational life. The only known disinfectant that works is love, that deep and compassionate kindness modelled by Jesus and which seeks the benefit of others rather than self.

church-x-singingMy blog was established to warn against the worst of what religion can be and to teach the spiritual way that comes from Christ, not human achievement. Yet I add disclaimers that not all congregations are poison, and not every alternative to traditional congregations is automatically better.

So what came from this is that if humans are involved then human trouble and sinfulness can be present. The how congregation is done has no eternal value unless the members are clear for Whom it is being done.

Choose whether you will live as a carrier of disease, or as a carrier of the healing medicine God provides (Jeremiah 8). Jeremiah weeps that people stay sick even when the healing ointments of Almighty God are so readily available.

That leads to other parables for another time…