Great Expectations

In my reading this morning I was struck by the sharp contrast in these words from Eugene Peterson:

Some people come to church looking for a way to make life better, to feel good about themselves, to see things in a better light. They arrange a ritual and hire a preacher to make that happen for them. Other people come to church because they want God to save and rule them. They accept the fact that there are temptations and sufferings and sacrifices involved in leaving a way of life in which they are in control and plunging into an uncertain existence in which God is in control. One group of people sees religion as a way to successful happy living; nothing that interferes with the success or interrupts the happiness will be tolerated. The other group sees religion as a way in which hurt, flawed and damaged persons become whole in relation to God; anything will be accepted (mockery, pain, renunciation, self-denial) in order to deepen and extend that reality.

One way is the way of enhancing what I want; the other way is a commitment of myself to become what God wants. Always and everywhere these contrasting expectations are in evidence. - Eugene Peterson, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best.

So, what are your expectations of God and the church? Which approach do you take? Have you found a grown up, God-centered faith that will stand up to all the trials and turmoil of life? I hope so, because in the end, it's the only way that leads home.


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