Tony Campolo once threw a birthday party for a prostitute in Honolulu (their paths crossed in a diner late one night where he overheard that the next day was her birthday and that she had never had a birthday party; so he threw her a suprise party the next night).  Harry (who owned the diner where the party was being held) asked Campolo what kind of church he went to.  Campolo responded:

“The kind of church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30am,” to which Harry responded, “…there’s no church like that.  If there was I’d join it.”  

“That’s the kind of church Jesus came to create,” Campolo writes, “I don’t know where  we got the other one that’s so prim and proper. But anyone who reads the New Testament knows that Jesus loved to lavish grace on the left-out and the used-up and the put-down.  The sinners loved him because he partied with them.  The lepers of society found in him someone they could eat and drink with.”  (The Kingdom of God is a Party

This story illustrates a common problem in churches today: we’re not acting like Jesus intended and people, like Harry, are tired of churches that are more concerned about being proper than acting like Christ would. 

I often struggle with what the church should look like and how we could do things differently to be more like what Jesus would want us to be, which has led me to a conclusion about the church.  

It, like any other human institution, is bound to fail.  

Sounds hopeless, right?  How do we fix it?

Maybe we should start by throwing a birthday party for a prostitute…