A fellow Mt. Carmelite stopped by the church office to show me her car—new to her, a great looking, low-mileage ’05. One of the cool things about our community is we recognize each other by the car we drive. We throw up a hand or nod as we meet on the road. She wanted to be sure I would recognize her in the new wheels she was driving!
Pre-owned cars often are marked by the tag “AS IS”—a way of saying anything from “you may find an irregularity” to “we’re not going to tell you where the flaw is, but if and when you find it, don’t coming whining to us!” It’s a fair warning. Take it as it is!
When it comes to church and, and all relationships, the same applies. We are an “AS IS” market. Think about your marriage, family, and close circle of friends. Think about your neighbors and co-workers. It’s true in our church and community as well.
Every person we know is “irregular.” There are flaws in every one of us. If you are looking for the perfect person…well, good luck on that. We all wear the tag, “AS IS.”
It is especially true when it comes to the church. Admittedly, many, if not most, people have simply dismissed the church. They are staying away in droves. In the opinion of many, the church is full of judgmental hypocrites.
And those who are looking for a church live under the illusion that somewhere out there is a “perfect” one, a normal one, maybe even a church without flaws.
I guess everybody would prefer a church like that. But there is no such thing. Not Mt. Carmel, not any church. As I’ve heard my dad say many times, “People are weird, aren’t “we?”
One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the fact that everybody comes “AS IS.”
I certainly do!
Question: How could the church communicate that “AS IS” message more effectively? What would the church look like?