Thursday, May 14, 2009

CHURCH BENT: IT ISN'T A MATTER OF LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE ONLY

Whether middle of the road or extreme, the direction and dimension of a congregation isn't necessarily defined as liberal or conservative. Name calling can cause us to believe this is the case, but it isn't.

I've been in and lived through a biblical transition. For the first 20 years of my ministry I loaded up my sermons preaching the Church of Christ; what we believed, what we stood for, where we would and would not go. When I began to see I was preaching issues but not the Man, I could see an obvious need in shift. Negotiating such twists and curves were not addressed well by one as mediocre as myself. I wish I could have been wiser. I wasn't.

The move was right though. Immediately (and still) I was regarded as unfaithful to the rules of the church. And....I was. I wasn't unfaithful to the Word; but I was to the many hoops which had come to be assumed from the Word.

I want to be careful and seek some way to ease into this next section. We each know I am not much. Discussion concluded. However, what I experienced in the church is what Jesus experienced when walking among the Pharisees, Sadducees, and high priests.

There was an ugly clash between them and him. Jesus was viewed by the community vocals as an underminer, bad man, and blasphemer; all in one despicable package. The chasm wasn't liberal or conservative for Jesus was more conservative than they in many areas. The difference was between their law-abiding, rule-regulating versus his love of God and love of man. They hated sinners. He loved them. They loved the rules. He loved the people.

Churches may side with one dimension or the other; but the style of Jesus is the only way to let the church be the true church of Christ. For the remainder of my life I will make concerted effort to become more like him. In the conclusion of that effort I will have failed....for only his gift to me/us of his righteousness will I ever hope to be right with God. But together--some of you and me--maybe we can keep the transition going in the direction of loving God and people more day by day.

4 comments:

Bill said...

May it be so, brother! May it be so! And, may God bless your efforts to lead many into a closer walk with Jesus.

Donna G said...

You summed it up perfectly...let us follow Jesus and live and love like him....everything else will fade to its proper place.

Stoogelover said...

If you never wrote another word - books or blogs - this would be the perfect ending to all you've written. That said, please never stop writing! I was with a group of people last night who have the joy of lifting a church in worship to God on Sunday and we were praying about this very thing.

Christi said...

Beautiful! So many CofC'ers are so bogged down in the dogma, the message of Christ is often lost. Bravo for doing what you do to leave that type of talk behind!