jump to navigation

Broken Church July 23, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Church, Theological Reflection, Watching and Waiting.
Tags: , ,

RECENTLY I tweeted:

What is church? It’s people, broken people … pretending not to be broken … and that’s what breaks it…

… but things, maybe people too, are easily lost in the twittersphere, so I thought I’d say it again here.

I find church difficult: I love the fellowship, the shared communion, the sense (sometimes!) of common purpose, of being on a journey together; but then we get to the Bible readings, creeds, hymns, liturgy, prayers … and inside of me, just beneath the surface, there’s a voice screaming, “It’s not real!”

Or is it? Is there, somewhere amongst all the hype about God almighty, something real? Something deeper, something … transcendent?

People — myself included — talk about mission, evangelism, good news. But what’s good about believing fantasy? On what basis are we, is anyone, expected to invite people to become part of a community that so often can’t even see its own brokenness? What’s the good of lighting candles only to snuff them out? What’s the good of faking it for Jesus when Jesus reserved his harshest words for fakers?

And Jesus himself? Where are you, Jesus? Would we recognise you if you came to one of our services? Would you recognise our church services, meetings, fellowship groups — whatever we want to call them — as having anything to do with you?

Or would we find you sitting on the wall outside, having a smoke, broke and broken and wondering what it’s all about?


1. fromthesamesky - July 23, 2010

I am SO with you here.

2. supersimbo - July 23, 2010

Great post Phil – i totally hear ya…..

I may quote this in a blog post with your permission of course…

3. fragmentz - July 23, 2010


and yeah, J, would be outside, sat on t’ wall having a fag.

am pleased you posted this, as i am one who didnt see it originally


4. Phil Groom - July 23, 2010

As always, thank y’all …

@supersimbo: please do.

Thinking maybe I’m gonna start a new facebook group called Church of the Broken People. Wanna join me? No beliefs required, just a determination to get along with each other…

Phil Groom - July 23, 2010

PS: WTF wristbands optional!

5. Karita - July 23, 2010

Agreed. I just read the first chapter of a book called Radical by David Platt and it got me thinking. Seemed to be along the same lines of what you’re writing about here – have you heard of it? Can’t really say much about it because I’ve only read the first chapter!

6. Karita - July 23, 2010

There’s someone in my church who insists on singing the praises of church – nothing wrong with that, church can be fantastic. But to sing its praises and ignore the brokenness? Not really my style and it makes me uncomfortable.

7. Phil Groom - July 23, 2010

Hey Karita – want to write a review for my Christian bookshops blog?

Facebook group now open: Church of the Broken People. Bring a friend!

Anyone up to designing a logo, please?

8. Living as a Christian Pt 1 | supersimbo.com - July 23, 2010

[…] quote is from Phil Groom’s blog post – here / The clip is from Rev, a new BBC sitcom – here – its […]

9. Michael - July 23, 2010

Have forwarded details to my friend Karen who recently started a group for exactly these sorts of people – I need to join it tho

10. Melanie C - July 23, 2010

Have you ever listened to Casting Crowns, think you’d like some of their stuff – especially Stained Glass Masquerade.
Have to admit their lifesongs album has been one of my favourite christian albums for quite a while now because they do at least try to ask the questions… oh and the musics not bad either!

Phil Groom - July 23, 2010

Please, please, please tell me they’re not with Kingsway, coz that would just about finish me off… but otherwise, guess I’m gonna hafta tune in 🙂

Phil Groom - July 24, 2010

Thanks Mel. Just found ’em on youtube:

11. supersimbo - July 23, 2010

they are with Integrity, or at least were

12. David Marriott - July 24, 2010

However, they are bland, middle-of-the-road Christian rock.

Also, I’m going to have a go at a logo, or some kind of graphic. I’ll let you know.

Phil Groom - July 24, 2010

Thanks David – I’ve done a sort of random clipart collage for the moment, but something more intentional would be better.

13. Karen Sethuraman - July 29, 2010

Hey Phil, Yep I’m the Karen chick that Michael was talking about (read above LOL)..I recently stepped out of a ministry post to set up a church for people who ‘don’t fit’ in church..for broken and busted people!! ‘Down Community Church’ (known as DCC) I love it…I’m determined not to ‘make it church’!!! I guess the reality is when we strip the whole thing back…do any of us feel we fit in church??? LOL. Anyway we’re up and running…and we aint a ‘typical’ church…fag breaks are part of what we do!! We want people with their stuff..to come as they are..because the reality is…even the leader has her stuff!! Glad we connected! Karen

Phil Groom - July 29, 2010

Cool 8)

14. Scotland - August 23, 2010

“What is church? It’s people, broken people … pretending not to be broken … and that’s what breaks it…”

That rings so true!

Just say it, you know you want to...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: