all flakes welcome?

all-flakes-welcome-large2

 

Levi held a great banquet at his house for Jesus. While a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them, the Pharisees, along with the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect, complained to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy. I have come to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous.” (Luke 5:29-32)

From this passage, it would appear that Jesus had a doormat that read: “All flakes welcome.” Are you rather selective about who you welcome? What about church – are “all flakes welcome” there? Should they be? Why or why not? Does the world grasp that it’s welcome in your church? How can Christ’s people set out the same doormat Jesus laid out?

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5 thoughts on “all flakes welcome?

  1. Yes, Jesus welcomes all “flakes” and I’m relieved at that. There are several questions here and I want to focus on one: “Does the world grasp that it is welcome in your church?” THAT is a very good question. Our congregation has a sign in front of the building announcing who we are and often give all passersby a message about what is going on at our building. On further thought, I was taught that “the church” was the people, not the building. So, I will zoom in closer on “church” and do “we,” the people, welcome “the world”? We, the church, feed the needy every Tuesday and Thursday and give food in abundance once a year before Christmas. Our food pantry is known in our community as a place where the needy can get food. On those occasions the church does welcome the world. It is also not the church’s practice to turn the world away should they come to our auditorium doors either. I’ve observed visitors walk into our services and sit among the members worshiping in song and bowing in prayer. They appeared to be of A church and even though visitors in our community, appeared to be from another “church”. They were not from “the world”. So then, who is the “world”? Do we let the people living on a boat across the street know they are welcome to come over and be in our “church”? Or do we let the guy without a job who moves each time the rent is due know he is welcome to be in our “church”? How about the battered woman who slept under the overpasses? Does she feel like she can get up from the cement and come as she is and walk inside our building to sit among “the church”? Is she going to feel welcome? I hardly think so.
    When we visited the Broadway Church of Christ in Galveston before the hurricane hit it, I observed the “world” being welcomed into that “church” of believers. And those were about the “flakiest” a church could find. They sat beside me, in front of me and behind me in the pews where I also sat. That particular church did and does welcome the world. But not all “churches” do that. I don’t think most churches make those who live on the streets of this world, in the run-down parts of this world, among the “unchurched” of this world, the flakiest of this world…KNOW they are welcome. Even a church who gives out food does nothing to welcome the flakes back into the main building where the prayers are offered, the praises sung and the communion to Jesus taken. THAT takes risk-takers and we are not at the point to be that sort of “church”….yet. Perhaps one day we will genuinely “Welcome All Flakes”.

  2. Mary Lou, I agree with you when you said “we are not there yet”. I have never been to the Broadway Church of Christ, but I have seen the love & acceptance of the “flakes” while serving at Impact Church of Christ. I also sat and visited with people in the shelters from the New Orleans “9th ward” after Katrina. I personally want to overcome my hesitation to take the first step. I want to step out in faith and know that our Lord and Savior will be there to guide me. Even though we are “different” we are all one in Christ Jesus. And who knows — we may be entertaining angels unaware when we “welcome the flakes”

  3. It’s one thing to welcome everyone in our midst, our gathering. In fact James preaches against favoritism. But that’s not what Jesus did. He went beyond this. He invited himself into their homes, their worlds, their lives; he noticed and loved those cast to the side. In fact, I would bet he saw no distinction between those considered “sinners” or “flakes” and his closest friends and family. The question isn’t who’s welcome in the midst of our church family, but it’s am I willing to invite myself to be among others no matter who they are?

  4. That is a very good question, Chad. Am I willing to invite myself into their realm? I can be so self-conscious when I go other places and I do not know anyone. I was at a party the other night and only knew the host and maybe one other person as an acquaintance. It was uncomfortable so I left. I have recently also visited other church affiliations, not my own, and felt welcome because I had been invited to be there. I wonder how it would be if I was not invited, but just showed up? But of course, you are speaking not so much of visiting a church service, as visiting their place on the street or in their gathering be it AA or other community group. God be with us to be bold enough to invite ourselves in among others no matter who they are.
    Very good meat to chew on. Thanks.

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