Sunday some people became members of the church here. Each person made a few comments, and one woman said, "I've felt like a member here for a while, this is just a formality." Which is exactly right.

The ceremony wasn't about becoming a member of the church, Christ's body. These people were already members in that way (the only way that really matters to me). This was about organizational membership, joining "this" church. The pastor even made several references to "this body." I find this very confusing and even harmful--because Christians are all part of one Body, right? Not this body or that body...

It's the entering into the one Body, God's family, that unites us and makes us members of one another. That connection and the experience of relationship and interdependence is what makes us "Us." It's very sad that we don't recognize this, but instead find our identity and "unity" in limited, institutional memberships, making our churches just like any other worldly organization or club (where you're not considered "one of us" unless you're on the official roster; and of course this is also tied in with establishing institutional authority--one of the membership vows was declaring that "the leaders of this church are my leaders"). I don't know what to do about this, except reject such institutional memberships myself, and urge others to do so as well.

Why should any group of Christians demand that I become a member? I am a member!

Also, rejecting such limited, man-made memberships, I want to declare that my family, my "Us", is not restricted by institutional or denominational lines. Only God determines who is a member, not any human council, so I will ignore their rosters. I am a brother to all who are also part of Christ. I will recognize them, not by their official affiliation, but by their Christlike lives.