I nearly choked on my pineapple and fruit breakfast today as I happened to catch the beginning of the Live Kelly & Michael television show. As they chatted back and forth in their relaxed conversational chatter, Kelly Rippa asked Michael Strahan if he went to church. After a bit of hesitation, Michael said, "on occasion...I mean, I'm pretty much working six days a week and then football on Sunday". Then he excused, "I'm always at church cause sometimes church can sometimes be in a state of mind."
He appealed to the crowd, "you can pray, you can pray...?" Kelly called him on that citing her parents would have disagreed. He further stated:
"There's so many different religions that they all end up boiling down to the same thing, but at some point in my heart of hearts, I think we'll all end up in heaven, and I'll be looking at you saying, I told ya, I told ya."
Kelly Rippa quipped, "yeah, but I'm gonna be in the express lane". Later she said she liked his statement that "church is being in a state of mind".
Michael Strahan is a retired American football defensive end who spent his entire 15-year career playing for the New York Giants of the National Football. He's been so appealing as co-host with Kelly Rippa that Good Morning America has contracted him as a commentator on the morning show. On GMA, I think, Michael upstages everyone every time he says anything. His quips and all-encompassing personality steal the show. If anyone would be fun to have in heaven, Michael and Kelly might be the ticket.
I agree that we need to keep our mind stayed on Christ and always recognize we are part of His body. But I'm not so sure that's what Michael seemed to have in his mind when he quipped with Kelly. However, I do find it hard to believe Michael really believes that church is "being in a state of mind". In his "heart of hearts", he might wish that everyone will be in heaven (as do most of us), but to voice it to the world that he truly believes that is what will occur, is a rather reckless thing to say--- coming from an influential character like himself.
Yet, isn't this the way our culture's view is formed? People like Michael, who might believe strongly in the God of the Bible but then says some off-handed remark like this that carries an entirely different message? Michael's jester personality and need to keep conversation moving along in a fun way on a light-hearted talk-show may have jumped out before his true thinking. I don't know. He is a famous fella. Things can be a bit wacko in the world of lights, camera, and action. Maybe he does believe this. Maybe he buys into today's cultural views that everyone is good in their own way, that sin is not really sin and there's no need to repent of any wrong doing. That the Ten Commandments aren't even suggestions anymore, let alone commands or laws God expects his creation to honor.
All I know is what I know and believe.
And, to me, church is more than a state of mind. Church is a fellowship of believers. Church is why Jesus came to earth to die. Church is the bride of Christ. Church is who Jesus uses to procreate and make disciples and bring people to a knowledge of His saving grace. Church is a place where we can grow in faith, be edified by the Word, find encouragement and comfort from other Believers. Church is a group of people, made up of far more than one individual mind, that seeks to share His message of eternal life. Church is disciples who manifest His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Church is a place where fellow believers assemble to praise the Creator and worship the Most High God. If we are not to forsake the assembly, can we live in our own "state of mind" and call it "church"?
Each believer makes up a part of the church. We, the church, are Christ's bride and someday He will return for his church. When he does, there will be some who are left behind and who will not be in heaven. That is a fact. Heaven is for Believers of the One True God. Heaven is not for "so many different religions". It is for blood-bought, faith-filled, regenerated and Spirit-sealed Believers of Jesus Christ-- the only begotten Son of God. To speak light of that, even on a light-hearted talk show could give people wrong directions to a place no one wants to consider an eternal home. And one of these days, the Lord will separate the sheep from the goats (the Believers from the unbelievers) and those who trust in chariots, horses, swords and religion will pay the price of eternal separation from God for believing silly things people say for a laugh.
Unlike Michael, I don't want to be the one who says I told you so. If you are trusting any other way but Jesus, I pray you turn to Him today. He is the only "express lane" you are offered this side of heaven.