In the Old English, the word for church is Circe. Or Cirice. To be healthy spiritually, this peculiar institution needs to have its attention turned outward.
Christianity, after all, is an intentionally pan-cultural movement. Yes, it's a message that rises from one person in one context. But it transcends that context, spanning language and culture. It presses out, wild and joyous, like living fire, touching and transforming and moving on.
It does not destroy. It lights up, refining and changing and bending towards the just and the good, but it is always ever pressing outward.
Until it doesn't.
When it turns its attention inward, to its own interests, its own power, its own self? It darkens, and grows broken of soul.
When it turns its affections towards itself, speaking only its own language and relating only to those within the circle it already knows? It becomes cynical, pointlessly abstracted from reality, turned away from joy and folding inward.
The fruit of that turning inward is warped and flawed, a love that has forgotten the purpose of love, a love that has festered and rotted and turned to poison.
Because, as the Master taught, loving only those who are close to us is not the love that brings God into the world.