Favourite Metaphor?

What is your favourite metaphor or ‘image’ for church?

It seems there are plenty out there, some biblical (eg ‘flock’) and some contemporary.

The primary one that has been resonating most strongly with me lately is that of a (healthy) extended family. The self organising nature of family, the way old can hang with young yet still allow freedom, the way families support each other & help out, and the way they handle ‘quirky’ members all feels like the kind of community a church ought to be when its functioning well.

What works for you?

10 thoughts on “Favourite Metaphor?

  1. Hi mate

    Obviously done a lot of thinking about this lately and the family image is the primary for me. Not just because it’s cute, but because Paul uses it as something that God has fore-ordained. That seems to be the NT impression anyway

  2. Family works for me. I have what I consider to be a healthy extended family with one or two extreme exceptions (…ya just can’t choose those cousins!) But I guess that too is like the church. Family, yes, that is mine for sure.

  3. cockroach – getting into the cracks, finding life in dark moments, and discovering you can survive flood and fire…it’s just the mortein that kills you!

  4. Family for all the above reasons (including the fact that I’m still learning how to love family – immediate and extended), but also “The Body.” I appreciate the whole idea that, while we can survive w/o certain body parts, we aren’t completely healthy without them. It goes both ways – I need you as part of the body, and you need me. Of course, this becomes a more important analogy when one considers the local church, not just the church universal. There are other parts of the analogy that I like, but you get the idea.

  5. Honestly? I love the idea of the church as a body, an organism. The trouble is that I keep wondering if the clergy is like the apendix or tonsels … they’re nice to have around, but ultimately aren’t necessary. Like other parts, when they get infected, they cause a lot of trouble, but unlike other parts, when you take the infected parts out, you still get better. Maybe with a piece or two missing, but you still work just fine.


    I think I just depressed myself.

  6. Paul Minear has a book called “Images of the church is the New Testament” in which he has 96 different metaphors for the church from scripture.

    Of those I love: One loaf; the cup of the Lord; the circumcision (ouch); the pillar and buttress; the wearers of white robes (not good on pasta night;)head of cosmic spirits; the confessors;the slaves; the tree of life and the brotherhood (ahh… I knew my denomination had it right somewhere)..

    what is interesting is the if you ask the average Joe Christian, they would be stuck the church as the body as a picture of the church and without the other pictures, it become a bit introverted… (the church gets stuck staring at his belly button if it had a metaphorical one).

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