The church will feel foreign to those who’ve never been part of it before. That doesn’t mean we should make it more foreign than it needs to be! But neither should we be apologetic or embarrassed of that foreign-ness.
It’s easy for those of us who’ve been Christians for a while to forget how big a deal it is for someone to walk into church for the first time. Thousands of families live within a mile of the church building, when realistically it’s as far away from them as Timbuktu. When Paul described the Gentiles as “far off” (Eph 2:13), he wasn’t talking geographically, but culturally. Even if people travel far enough to make it through the front door, there’s still a far greater distance for them to travel to actually join the church. That’s why we’re (legitimately) keen to find ways to make it easier for people who aren’t from Christian backgrounds to join us.
But Paul uses a picture in Romans 11 that suggests Christianity should feel foreign. He tells Gentile believers:
…you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree.