Re-reading a classic like Brethren, Hang Loose has been much more than a trip down memory lane. Revisiting your roots is always a good habit. You never know what the Spirit might impress upon you, all over again.

To be honest, I sympathize greatly with those who self-identify as “done with church”. One of the (dis)advantages of being middle-aged is that you’ve been around long enough to see some of the rot that has infected many churches. From carnal attitudes of pride and self-righteousness, to ego-driven mansion-building, to hype-n-hysteria theatrics, to the worship-tainment industry, and right on down to the small church traditions of gossip, rigidity and small-mindedness… yeah, it can look a little bleak at times.

But it’s still Christ’s Body, His Bride. You know, the one He’s coming back for.

Bob Girard’s words regarding the institutional church (a term he utilized even back in the 1970s) are timely for us in 2015. You could almost call this “a word for the ‘dones’.”

There is not much need, really, for me to offer “commentary for 2015” on this one, so I’ll just let Bob Girard speak for himself:

“They may seem to be almost mummified in the grave dressings of unbiblical church tradition. They may be opposed to anything that would disturb the status quo. But that doesn’t alter the fact that if they have thrown themselves on Christ for salvation and He lives in them, they are a part of the Body of Christ.

“They cannot just be ‘written off’.

“We must not fit their mold, or pamper them in their immaturity, or back down in the face of their carnal outbursts. We must not stop seeking to bring renewal and revival to the church just because they don’t like it.

“But neither can we just write them off. They are brothers and sisters. Jesus said, if we do not have love for them, the world has a right to come to the conclusion that we are really not Christians at all.

“For these reasons, those who want to see church renewal cannot just ‘forget’ the institutional church. The people of God are there. The Spirit is there, in the people. I need those brothers and sisters very much. And they need me.” (pages 182-183, emphasis in original)