All institutions belong to the category of principalities and powers. They are not inherently evil. The principalities and powers are, like all things, created. We are to have dominion over them, not them over us. They are to serve us. Not us them. This includes the institution we call the church. A few weeks ago I attended what we might call a house church of young adults (here and here). I was asked to come and share with them some of my thoughts. We met in a living room. There was food and wine. It was fun. And we had communion, had a theological discussion, and there was prayer. What was missing was this sense of expectation that an institution imposes on people. There was no overriding agenda that had to be met. And these young people were free of the constant surveillance that the church often exercises over its members. Their spiritual condition was their own personal responsibility, and they gathered occasionally to encourage one another. They didn't come hoping that this would fill a void in their own lives. We just gathered as friends. And even though there was a recognition of commitment and even love, I came free and left free. I realize that it is easier to achieve this without a building, staff, budgets and charters, etc. But it was refreshing. This isn't easy to accomplish. It means constantly challenging the principalities and powers, the institution, to humble itself, relinquish its vision and agenda that is often dehumanizing, and serve us.