Cameron Diaz and Fiona the Ogre

A Book Review by Pastor Matt     
      Halter and Smay’s book titled, "The Tangible Kingdom" was an interesting read.  While I appreciated their warmth for evangelism and authenticity, I have a major point of contention with one of their opening statements.  In their opening chapter they say, “I believe in the church.  I believe God loves his church, and that he’s quite ticked that his bride looks like ‘Fiona the ogre’ instead of Cameron Diaz.”   It seems to me that the rest of the book and the authors' quest is to create a church that looks like Cameron Diaz and distance themselves from the church that is associated with Fiona the ogre.
       When reading this book I was continually reminded of a quote by St. Augustine.  Augustine in talking about the church once said, “The church is a whore, but this whore is also my mother.”  In thinking about Augustine’s quote I believe that he portrays the church in a healthy manner.  The very church itself is composed of sinners that will always fail to meet up to the glorious standards of God.  The church is not immune from sin nor a perfect utopia here on earth.  The Christian church will always fail to meet the mark, and always fails in being free from hypocrisy.  However, it is this very broken, whorish, and unfaithful vessel that God in His grace has called and commissioned to bring forth the Gospel (Ephesians 3:20).  Through its unfaithfulness, brokenness and hypocrisy God has used the church, the body of believers, as an instrument to proclaim the life changing message of the Gospel.  Through the lips of sinners God ministers His Word and Sacraments so as to penetrate hearts, grant faith and impute assurance.  Through imperfect people and an imperfect institution God’s perfected Gospel has been preserved, ministered and spoken forth to the ends of the earth. 
       If anything, Augustine’s quote testifies more about the faithfulness of God and the power of His Gospel working in the midst of broken man rather than commenting on the church itself.  If anything, Augustine’s quote exposes my sin of putting trust into an unfaithful church rather than the unchanging and faithful message of the Gospel.  If anything, Augustine’s quote is yet another example of God’s grace and intense love towards sinful mankind.
       While I commend Halter and Smay in their missionary zeal I do not believe the answer to missions is to become like Cameron Diaz, for I believe the natural state of the church is Fiona the orge.  I believe that they are chasing after what seems to be Cameron Diaz but in reality is Fiona with new Prada Sunglasses, Gucci Handbag and a red Valentino Dress.  From church history we see that this move to create a Cameron Diaz Church is nothing new.  Time has always shown that infatuation with the idea of a perfect church has always led people to a nicely dressed up Fiona.    
       What Halter and Smay fail to realize is that what makes the church unique and the Gospel so sweet is that Christ would pursue, die and love Fiona!  Chasing after a Cameron Diaz Church simply is chasing a myth and distracts us from the larger picture that God in Christ has chased us down in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Now, that is something that is unique!  
      We may be the church of Fiona the ogre, but we are loved by the King of the Kingdom...  Christ the Bridegroom.  

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