The Son of Man vision is presented in a familiar context: "I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man." The lampstands are identified a few lines later (Rev. 1:20) as churches.
It is impossible among people familiar with ancient Israel and early church to glamorize communities of faith. Churches are characteristically poor, often sordid, frequently faithless. It is precisely in this environment that God chooses to show the Christ in the splendid form of Son of Man. But this procedure should be no surprise by now: the site of his birth was a manger, and the palace of his coronation was a cross. God deliberately set Jesus among the common and the flawed - the historical situation just as it was. Jesus is never known in any other context. The revelation of Christ is not embarassed or compromised by association with the church; quite the contrary, it insists on this context.
(Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination, pp. 36-37)
These thoughts are comforting amidst the seemingly endless parade of Christian failures, both individual and corporate. Thankfully, God uses even our darkness to magnify the shining brilliance of Christ.
(Peterson's book is really good, by the way. More on that to come.)