any more than standing in a garage makes you a car."
So one of my friends posted on FB this morning. I've read it before, but I still chuckled, and then I started to think about it.
True enough: if you stand in a garage, you won't become a car. But ~ assuming that there is a car in there with you ~ you might learn something about cars. What they look like, feel like, smell like (ok, not me on the last one ~ but most people have a sense of smell). If you decide to co-operate with or participate in the car (depending upon whether your car theology is Catholic or Protestant) by hopping in and going for a drive, you'll find out how a car sounds and what it can do. How it can help you and what its limitations are. It can transform your life by moving you 600 miles in a day; it can completely mess up your life via a damaged transmission or broken clutch.
I don't have to drag out the analogy, do I? If you stand in a church, your senses might tune in to what it is to be a Christian. If you decide to go for a drive, whether by standing up and singing during worship or by taking the big leap to make a retreat or go on a mission trip, you'll learn a little bit about what Christianity is and does. If you hang out in a church long enough, you'll discover its transformative powers and its limitations.
The astonishing thing is that ~ while no matter how long you stand in a garage or how thoroughly you get to know your car, you will never, in fact, become a car ~ if you go to a church you might, in fact, become a Christian.