The answer is no one, and it ought to define how Christians gather.
NT Wright said, “[The family of God] was of course characterized and marked out by one of the best-known features of Jesus’ work: his open table-fellowship … eating with ‘sinners’ was one of the most characteristic and striking marks of Jesus’ regular activity … Jesus was celebrating the messianic banquet and doing it with all the wrong people. Jesus, then, created a new symbol, which drew into itself the symbolism of family and nation.” (JVG 431) And that symbol was the Eucharist. “The symbols of Jesus kingdom-announcement come together,” said Wright, “in the upper room” (437).
What are we doing on Sundays? Why not just go to the mountains each weekend to experience God? Why spend all the time, the resources, the energy creating and maintaining the weekly gathering?
Sociologist Josh Packard’supcoming work on “the Dechurched” points to a disconcerting trend. The church is losing folks—not people on the edges, but those who have been the most committed over the years. There is an exodus of believing, tithing, heavily engaged, self-identifying Christians. Apparently, they have been to church, have experienced the production, the culture, and are finding different targets for their time. In fact, many report leaving because they want to experience Jesus.
“Even if we want to flee from the evils of porn, we have a problem. We’re called to be part of a world that is saturated with sexualised materials, and to meet and love the people who live in it. It’s not our job to judge people who think pornography is healthy, but there are ways that a compassionate Christian voice can and should be expressed to the contrary.”
Good article by Martin Saunders on porn, brains, and healthy responses to an often dehumanizing industry: HERE
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”