One of the many reasons for both the cynicism and discontent is that "modernity has played out its destructive logical consequences. All the ideologies, all the utopian promises that have marked [the 20th century] have proven bankrupt." (How Then Shall We Live, p. xi). Since the promises have proven to be nothing more than an empty dream, many believe that there is no hope. We were told that if we could ever get to the point where every person could simply do as he/she chose, personal freedom would lead to an enlightened people. This didn't happen. Instead it has led to "the loss of community and civility, to kids shooting kids in schoolyoards, to citizens huddling in gated communities for protection. We have discovered that we cannot live with the chaos that inevitably results from choice divorced from morality." (ibid, p. xi).
We are living on the cusp of a monumental shift in the western world. For many people, this shift is depressing because they can only see a future with further disintegration and hopelessness. But there is another option.
Jesus created a community of faith that has a purpose. The word that has been translated "church in the English Bible is ekklesia. This word is the Greek words kaleo (to call), with the prefix ek (out). Thus, the word means "the called out ones." However, the English word "church" does not come from ekklesia but from the word kuriakon, which means "dedicated to the Lord." This word was commonly used to refer to a holy place or temple. By the time of Jerome's translation of the New Testament from Greek to Latin, it was customary to use a derivative of kuriakon to translate ekklesia. Therefore, the word church is a poor translation of the word ekklesia since it implies a sacred building, or temple. A more accurate translation would be "assembly" because the term ekklesia was used to refer to a group of people who had been called out to a meeting. It was also used as a synonym for the word synagogue, which also means to "come together," i.e. a gathering. "Body of Christ" Since believers have been united with Christ through spiritual baptism, they are sometimes corporately referred to as the body of Christ. (Rom. l2:4-5; 1 Cor. l2:11,13,l8,27; Col. l:l8; Eph. 5:30) The idea seems to be that the group of Christians in the world constitute the physical representation of Christ on earth. It is also a metaphor which demonstrates the interdependence of members in the church, while at the same time demonstrating their diversity from one another." (Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:14-17) - (See more at: http://www.xenos.org/classes/um1-1a.htm#sthash.vjCUNDUK.dpuf)
What is the "called-out" purpose of the ekklesia? We are to bear witness, by word and deed, of the saving Grace of Jesus. We are emissaries sent from God to signal to our hurting world that there is another way, a better way. It is easy to get disillusioned and even cynical ourselves. It is easy to think of Church as an escape from the world, a place to gather once a week to get recharged in order to last another week. But it is so much more than that. Indeed the ekklesia is the hope of the world. There is a reality that is often hidden among the clutter and chaos of a dying world. That reality is the Kingdom of God. In each of Jesus' followers exists a bit of heaven. We are called to give hope where there is only despair, life where there is only death.
There is no greater calling to be a follower of Jesus and to testify to His love. It is sad to see when we (as the ekklesia) settle for less. May God be glorified by the way we shine forth His love and the Heavenly Kingdom which is to come, right into the darkness of discontent.