I had the fortune of spending a nice lazy day at home on Saturday doing laundry and basically being lazy. So, I decided for my daily dose of entertainment, to watch the matrix trilogy. After watching it again, I am more convinced that there is a great parallel that can be drawn from the matrix to the church of today...
(Before I go on, I would like to make something clear. I love the church. I in no way want to be seen as anti-church or anti-Christian. I do believe however, that many followers of Christ do not fulfill the command or commission of Christ because they think the church does it for them. In this light, I make my analogy.)
As I watched the trilogy again, I became very aware of the symbiotic relationship between the people and the matrix. The matrix needs the people plugged in so that it could survive. But, the other side of that coin that was pointed out by Morpheus in the first movie is that as long as the people were still hooked into the matrix they were dependent on it (or at least the machines that ran it) for their survival. Because of the situation that existed, the matrix lulled the human race into a state of comatosed passivity in order to keep them as a life-giving force that was under their control.
A few observations I would like to make:
1. The Christian and the Church do have a purposed symbiotic relationship today.
As much as people like to say, "I can be a Christian and not go to church", this is not Biblical or accurate. Christ was very clear in many of His teachings, and we see this evidenced in the early church. There was no "one man is an island" mentality. The Body is one. The Family is one. The church is meant to be one. Anyone who refuses to be a part of a church is either immature and doesn't understand the true teachings of Scripture, or is injured and acting out of hurt and bitterness. We must realize that as the many parts of the one whole, we are all equally responsible and equally accountable for the spreading of the Gospel. We must see this as a personal responsibility and not shirk it off to the church thinking that it is there job to do.
This is where I believe we as individuals need to grow.
However, being a part of a body of believers, at least in the Biblical sense, is more that what we see in our churches today. Our performer/spectator style of having church today does not meet the full biblical teaching of an "every member functioning" body of believers. The reformation helped solidify the priesthood of all believers, but we don't have that in practice in our churches. Likewise, Jesus came to abolish the Old Testament method of worship: Temples as the only place of worship, Priests that stood between God and His people, and ritualized worship activities that were repeated. Yet, when one takes a step back from our modern-day churches we see a lot of this same activity going on. We have just replaced the Temple with the Church, the Priest with the Pastor, and one set of rituals for another. Secondly, the larger a traditional church gets, the more buildings, property, staff, and general overhead it must have. This then increases the need for people to stay "plugged in" and drives us to a more entrainment driven or at the least program driven ministry. This again does not fit in with the original mission and goal of the early church.
This is where I believe we as the church need to grow.
The reality is, like the in the matrix, the life-giving force that radiates from a person is not contingent upon anything. We as believers and followers of Christ are already tapped into the well-spring of life. It is undeniable and it is uncontainable. But because of our desire to have larger churches, and possibly our desire to have less personal responsibility, we have created a matrix that we stay passively plugged into.
We must take the words of our Lord and Savior not as a corporate command for churches and organizations, but as a personal mission for every believer in their everyday life:
"...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matt 28:19-20
- Just a thought.