A vicar and a lawyer walked into a bar…

It is quite scary how similar law firms and churches are!  I have just finished watching The Firm on Film Four starring a short young chappie called Tom Cruise who, incidently, used to live nextdoor-but-one to myself.  But that was when he was married to a sophisticated Australian redhead.

I want to draw attention to the fact that I am not writing this with the intention of criticising an individual church but rather raising awareness for all of us involved in churches that we could show a whole lot more integrity and love than we probably already do.

The firm portrayed itself to Cruise’s impressionable character as perfect, family orientated and stable.  It makes me sick that in churches we often have the same attitude and are rarely able to admit that we haven’t got it all sorted.  As frustrated as this makes me I fear that I am one of the worst culprits.  As leader of the youthwork in my church I have massive responsbilities and opportunities to show young people that faith and church do not fit comfortably into convenient little boxes.  The moment church stops getting complicated is the day that we have finally succeeded in sucking the life out of church.

There were several other themes in the film that made me chuckle as attitudes reminded me of my own church experience.  However, the overriding hope-filled conclusion I came to was that, no matter how down we could get about a particular church, how much an individual has hurt us or how non-Christians perceive the church , we always have that assurance that we are in this for God and he is bigger than an problem or earthly institution.  This is a hope that the lawyers in the film lacked.  I know that my ideals will last for eternity, for now it is just a matter of acknowledging that such ideals will struggle to establish themselves in my life or my church.  Not that we shouldn’t strive to run better church communities but that we shouldn’t fake that everything is ok.

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