I just started reading the book Crashing the Idols: The Vocation of Will D. Campbell (and any other Christian for that matter) by Richard Goode and Will Campbell.
Richard was my faculty mentor at Lipscomb University my first year of teaching. I left Lipscomb after only a year, and I still lament leaving the orbit and friendship of Richard Goode. So it's been good to get into this book and to experience what Richard has been up to in his work with Will Campbell.
Will Campbell is a revelation to me. His life, work and theology are simply astonishing. No doubt I'll have much more to say about Campbell in the weeks and months to come, but for today a thought-provoking quote from Campbell on leaving the location of the church unnamed and unspecified, if only to protect it from being co-opted and "institutionalized":
I think it ["the Church"] does exist, but I'm afraid to look for it, because if I find it and name it, I'm going to run it, if I can. That's the evil of institutions. But Jesus said he would build his church in the world, and exactly where it is at any moment, I don't know. I don't think [one knows when she is in it]. I don't know when I'm in it. Take Gass's Tavern [in Mt. Juliet, TN], for example. For many years it was just a little country beer joint. I've done a wedding for just about everybody there. I've buried numerous patrons who have died. I visit the ones who are in jail. Sometimes I get up on stage and pray for the sick. Now, I could make the case that that's my church, but I won't, because if I did, the next thing you know, we'd have a bulletin, or drink only Pabst. And I'd expect to be rewarded for all the things I did there. So I don't say that's my church, but that is the Church at work in my life...If I believe that all institutions are inherently evil by definition, then I certainly can't assume that I can create a better one. I might have a good organization for a while, but, before long, any organization is going to become hardened and rigid. I think people do come together, like we do down at Gass's Tavern. It's when we institutionalize it--when we do it the same way every Sunday--that it becomes perfunctory and losses any meaning. I say this in spite of the fact that I like ritual, liturgy, and so on.