Flawed Community, Hope for the World?

Watching the name of Jesus get thrown around in political conversations, "benedictions", and satires of "evangelical" voters this last week has caused me to wince, laugh, and gag--sometimes all at once. When Christ-ians so often seem to represent Christ so poorly, I can't help asking the question, "How can Church be Jesus' tool of revealing himself (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:16-20) when it is so deeply deeply flawed?" 

Even when Jesus commissioned his first disciples, he knew just how deeply flawed they were. It wasn't but a few days earlier that they had deserted, betrayed and disowned him. It's almost as if Jesus chose deeply flawed people on purpose.

Why choose people like this? If Jesus' message is primarily, "This is how you become a better person...." it seems to make no sense. If the good news Jesus came to tell was just a new ethical code, he should have chosen better people to carry it forward.

But if his message is mercy, if his good news is forgiveness, if his gospel is grace, perhaps only a community of deeply flawed people who learn to forgive each other could ever represent him to the world. And perhaps as we continually give and receive forgiveness in community, we will become more like the Jesus we claim to represent.