Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Institutional Church

"What other church is there besides institutional? There’s nobody who doesn’t have problems with the church, because there’s sin in the church. But there’s no other place to be a Christian except the church. There’s sin in the local bank. There’s sin in the grocery stores. I really don’t understand this naïve criticism of the institution. I really don’t get it. Frederick von Hugel said the institution of the church is like the bark on the tree. There’s no life in the bark. It’s dead wood. But it protects the life of the tree within. And the tree grows and grows. If you take the bark off, it’s prone to disease, dehydration, death. So, yes, the church is dead but it protects something alive. And when you try to have a church without bark, it doesn’t last long. It disappears, gets sick, and it’s prone to all kinds of disease, heresy, and narcissism."

Eugene Peterson

HT -- Boar's Head Tavern Masthead

1 comment:

Bob said...

The tree analogy is interesting because the core of the tree is dead as well. There is only a thin layer around the circumference (under the bark) that is actually transmitting nutrients and growing. The rest is just "dead" support/protection.