Of Egg Cartons and Christianity

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. —Romans 12:10 NIV

egg-carton.jpgEgg cartons are incredibly useful and extremely versatile! It would not be surprising to learn that millions of dollars have been spent to develop the very best egg cartons possible. In addition to ensuring the safekeeping of the eggs from farm to market, the list of things these cardboard creations (okay, sometimes they are made of Styrofoam) are used for is quite extensive. One thing egg cartons cannot do is correctly represent the way members of the church for which Jesus shed His blood are called to live in community with one another.

Tragically, though, egg cartons do seem to symbolize the life and times of some congregations. This is especially true if time spent on neatly arranged, relatively comfortable, pews with sufficient roominess so as to insulate the worshipper from an intrusion into to his or her personal space, is the typical extent to which interaction occurs. Some have reported it to be extremely difficult, if not bordering on being hypocritical, to sing “Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love…” when our most common view of many fellow-saints is the back of their heads.

One way that God has chosen to enable us to understand the nature of our relationship with Him is to explain that the church is a body. No, not a body, but the body of Christ! (See: Colossians 1:18) Indeed, the church of Christ is a living organism, composed of many different members, all of which make their own special contribution toward the functioning of the whole body. This is precisely described in Ephesians 4:16. Here we read:

From him [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (NIV)

It is quite difficult to see a bunch of Christians neatly packaged in egg cartons in this verse. In a body all the parts are interdependent. In an egg carton all the eggs are independent. In the body of Christ an individual makes her contribution by mixing, mingling and working in harmony with other members. Egg cartons, however, keep all the eggs isolated from one another. There is definitely no mixing and no mingling.

The bottom line: When the church is knit together through that which every joint supplies—functions as a body—it grows and builds itself up in love. This is precisely as God has designed it to be! Let’s go beyond “Egg Carton Christianity.” Let’s do whatever it takes to get out of our neatly arranged, isolated spaces and into one another’s lives. Let’s encourage one another! Let’s bear one another’s burdens and admonish one another! With God as our strength, let’s really love one another!

© Bill Williams

June 14, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Life, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Of Egg Cartons and Christianity

  1. Greg England says:

    A few years ago, we were going to be in Alabama visiting relatives (supposed to be a vacation, but going home is seldom a vacation) and a gentleman from Oregon stayed in our house. He was a friend of a friend … in SoCal trying out for the Clippers basketball organization … and a brother in Christ. Though we never met, and only communicated by email, I assured him he would find a warm welcome at church on Sunday morning. When I returned home and checked my email, he thanked us for the use of the house. Commented on the ferocity of our dog (at that time). Didn’t say anything about attending worship, so I asked him. He said only one person spoke to him, and that was to tell him he was sitting where they always sit. I’d never been so ashamed of this church family. It was certainly a fluke because we are a friendly church. The person who ousted him from “their” seat was a deacon!

  2. How many of us have similar stories to tell? GRRRR.

    Yet, how many of us are truly breaking down barriers? HMMMM.

    Please, dear God, give us the courage to get out of our comfort zones and into the lives of others where you can use us for ministry.

    In Jesus name.
    Amen

  3. Dee Andrews says:

    Another great post. I agree totally with your last paragraph, too. Your bottom line. Absolutely. Amen.

  4. Krista says:

    I grew up in the Christian church, my father was and still is a minister. I no longer attend services, seeing behind the scenes for so many years has left me quite jaded and cynical about the motives of churchgoers. No matter where we went, no matter where he preached, it always came out that the members thought religion was only for “their kind”. Every church we left we left amid a hailstorm of controversy surrounding my dad’s attempts to attract minorities to our services. Poor people were for donating canned food and used clothing for, not for bringing to services and actually *gasp* interacting with them. This held true across 4 states and 6 different churches while I grew up, and followed him through his next 4 churches, so it’s hardly an isolated attitude. Frankly I no longer believe in organized religion. It seems to bring out the worst snobbery veiled under a thin layer of piety. I don’t need to go into a building and be judged on my clothing, my lifestyle, and my schmoozing ability to know and live by God’s word. Of course the “good Christians” in town act as if I’m an athiest because I don’t attend services but I suppose when the end is here and we have to answer for our sins, I won’t be the one explaining why I shunned someone at Sunday service simply because they weren’t “one of us”.

  5. Thank you, Krista, for this comment. Regardless of how you feel at other places and in spite of your experiences with organized religion, you are always welcome here at the Spiritual Oasis! Thanks for stopping by!! -bill

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