Still, I am convinced that this message packs a powerful punch for the modern church - speaking directly to our contemporary situation. While it is often dismissed because it is about the rebuilding of a temple, I have found that most people can quickly identify with the transfer of temple to church that is embedded within the people of God motif. Hence, my four week are outlined like this:
1. the house of the Lord is a priority (1:1-15)
2. the house of the Lord is our passion (2:1-9)
3. the house of the Lord is our purpose (2:10-19)
4. the house of the Lord is our promise (2:20-24)
My only hope of posting this here is that it might open up the letter to others who've not considered it before. I want to unpack a few of the concepts a bit more, and will do so in order to invite more conversation into the current situation of the church. It has been pointed out to me that my perspective on the church is a bit more pessimistic than the average person (esp. pastor). To this I readily agreed, but added that my perspective on the church is also quite a bit more optimistic than the average person. Yet it follows that a theologian is both a servant and a critic of the church, so I believe our best work begins with a realistic evaluation of where we are (beyond using spiritual metal detectors to blow up insignificant issues into platforms which too often drive many under-qualified preachers).