“And he said to them, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean’” (Acts 10:28).
Peter’s eyes were opened to the difference between institutional religion and the gospel of Christ. Institutional religion is homogenous, neat, clean, predictable, pristine, sanitized, sanctified, and comfortably lived out in a climate-controlled sanctuary. Biblical faith, and the missional task given to the church, however, is played out in the unpredictable messiness of a broken humanity; among people who do not know the “Sunday School” answers to the crises of life faced each day. Institutional religion is self-satisfied with having attended, while the church on mission lives restlessly among those who do not yet realize that the only way out of their quagmire is up. Instead of judging, engage; instead of dog-piling, lift up.