There are precious few things in church that remind us of the first century fellowships many think they would like to emulate. I think you make a great point when you point out where things become idols. I think there's a lot to be said dividing style and substance.

I joined an Episcopal church that holds all that stuff loosely - the communion table is also where the coffee goes after the service. We sing a cappella. We ask visitors not to give to our offering plate until they return - after noticing their blessings and have a gratitude offering. We sit on either side of the room facing each other, and the priest sits while giving the sermon. The choir doesn't wear robes and the sit among the congregation. Kids play off to the side - not always quietly.

I absolutely love my church. If I had to move, it would be the one thing I couldn't replace.

With all that, we're small. I've watched as people have checked us out but didn't become regulars. We don't offer a lot of stuff people expect. I listened to one visitor complain that she didn't believe she had received communion because of how we served it.

Again, love your calling out these practices as becoming idols - lots of "stuff" can take the place of Jesus in our lives!

Andy’s book, “Tried to be Straight: Biblical Options for Gay Christians” comes out in 2021. Find out more at