When you come into a community, into a Christian community […] it’s a human instinct to look around and, if you kind of like the community and you think you might want to be a part of it, there’s an instinct to conform a little bit to the way things are done. How do we dress around here? Okay, I see a pattern, I can do that. I’m going to church now, I’ve gotta get my hair cut. I’ve gotta get a Bible that looks like that guy’s Bible. I gotta master the vocabulary here and learn to talk the talk a little bit.
What is it at [your church] (external culture things)? Maybe I’ve gotta learn to drink better coffee in the morning. Maybe I need to learn to drink better beer at night. I’m not completely joking. That’s not for everybody – the coffee and beer thing – and it cannot be what defines us.
Do not ever think that belonging to [a Christian] community means that you need to change your external habits – in regard to unimportant things. Because in the church, we should have blue highlights and tattoos. We should have polo shirts and khakis. We should have sundresses and t-shirts, skinny jeans and mom jeans, goatees and cornrows, long hair, short hair. The church should contain every kind of person, but every kind of person enthralled and captured by the same Jesus, our living Lord. Because whenever the church is identifiable by its cultural externals, we’re done, we’re done.
So if you come to church, I want your drive to be, I’ve got to know Jesus better. He has gotten my attention and I need to go further in relationship with him. And then, the really important things flow from there, like loving people, for instance. So […] if we can be characterized by love for Jesus, and love for people, we’ll be doing alright. Amen? Amen.