A new cancer diagnosis every minute. More pink slips and foreclosures. Economic uncertainties. Tornados. Divorce. Car wrecks. War. Rumors of wars. These are not settled times in this country. Not at all. But they are — they should be — exciting and adventurous times.
Praise teams. Women’s roles. Church leadership structures. Instruments in worship. Small groups. Ecumenical movements and interdenominational partnerships. These are not settled times in the Churches of Christ. Not at all. But they are — they should be — exciting and adventurous times.
I’m reminded of something Stanley Hauerwas, that great theologian from the Grove, wrote almost twenty years ago:
“God has not promised us safety, but participation in an adventure called the Kingdom. That seems to me to be great news in a world that is literally dying of boredom.”
It’s all out there in front of us. Adventure. Thrills. Daring missions. Risky change. Challenging discussions. Exciting encounters. What are we waiting for? To get all our ducks in a row? To find all the answers first? To make sure everybody in our boat is on board with the exact same theology and uniform practices? No! What’s exciting about that?!?
What’s going to save more people? What’s going to redeem my part of the world for Christ? What’s going to make you and me more like Jesus?
Not worrying or complaining about current politics or health care or the culture. No ma’am. And not arguing and debating about church politics and practices and church culture.
Getting out there in the middle of it, with other Christians, sacrificing and serving, saving and learning, throwing our entire selves into the mission of God with full knowledge and trust that he is going to do something incredibly wonderful with it if we’ll just submit to him and his calling. That’s going to save people! That’s going to reconcile God’s world! That’s going to make us all more like our Risen Lord!
But what about this post-modern, post-Christian society? Nobody wants to listen to anything about Jesus. No, stop it. Everybody you know at work and in your neighborhood and at your Wal-Mart is desperately looking to be a part of something that’s hugely significant and bigger than themselves.
But what about our Church of Christ identity? How is the world going to know that we’re different from other churches? No, stop it. Jesus died on the cross so we would all be one in him, so I’m sure he’d be thrilled if we worked according to his plan for a change.
These are exciting and adventurous times in the Kingdom of God. Of course, as long as your faith is in you and your particular church or congregation instead of in the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, you won’t see them as anything but unsettling and dangerous. Faith in God tells us that we’re surrounded by divine potential. Holy mystery. Heavenly adventure. Eternal excitement. It’s high time we abandon ourselves and jump in with everything we’ve got.