Width of Loyalty
Here are some quotes I found from Reinhold Niebuhr's work Man's Nature and His Communities which highlights the dilemma of the church. Does the church point to a wider loyalty, to God, or does it point to iself and it's current claims and practices?
By definition, saving grace is induced by an experience in which the conscience of the individual self transfers devotion from a contingent community, such as family, race or nation, to an ultimate loyalty to God, the fountainhead of value.
Actually the force of saving grace has a different course in history. It has emphasized the loyalty of individuals to the immediate community, rather than emancipating them from idolatrous worship of common loyalties.
Religious piety is likely to sanctify historical and contingent viewpoints...rather than showing a humble awareness of the relative aspects of all historical loyalties or bringing forth repentance for short comings as judged by a transcendent God.