Anyone who tells you that going to church is about being nice is missing something. Not that I don’t like nice people (I really, really like nice people), however, being nice is not being Christian. It’s a step on the road to Christianity, but its really a baby-step.
Moral Therepeutic Deism or the idea that church is all about being nice is actually the watered-down, easy to swallow, what church has become thing. For more info on MTD (i.e. the niceness of church) check out Kenda Dean’s “Almost Christian” book or read her post about it. Kenda says MTD” is pasteurized Christianity—pasteurized to the point that the nutrients have been cooked right out of it. I wonder how a church like Kingston has avoided boiling down Jesus, since it’s surely not the result of any intentional plan? Is the congregation’s unpolished profile, that tends to discourage processed professionalism? Or is it the leadership of student pastors who have not yet been jaded by mileage, and come with their idealism in full bloom? Is it the uncluttered nearness of God embodied by the sheer proxemics of tiny sanctuary and a preacher who looks you in the eye? Or is it practices that invite people to talk about being Christian in terms that aren’t borrowed from our moralistic, therapeutic culture? If you asked them, people at Kingston wouldn’t tell you that being a Christian means being nice or feeling comfortable. They would tell you it means feeding more sheep.”
Being Christian is life-changing. Being Christian is understanding there is a better way to be. People who become Christian do so because they feel a hole in their life, they understand that they have a sharp need to belong to something, and that God not only fills that hole but makes us belong to something bigger and better than ourselves.
We join the church because at church our efforts are increased. When you are part of a Christian community 1 plus 1 can equal 3 or 33 or sometimes even 333. Small things that you do is moreso! All of Ephesians 4 is about being a part of God’s work, it includes being nice, but that is not the message, the message is that the niceness is rooted in and the beginnings of showing God’s Love–and that what will be Accomplished will be so much more than Nice
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.–Eph 4:17b-21