Here’s an Idea

For too long, too many Christian churches and whole Christian movements and denominations–Christians like us–have framed the existence and purpose of the Church with being in a fight. That’s our dominant metaphor: we’re in a culture war. We’re always fighting something or fighting against someone or a group of someones. We’re always being attacked, we’re always under siege, always in danger of losing something or having something taken away. It’s been our running theme. We’ve got to fight. We’ve got to fight. If we don’t fight, who will?

Fight?

Our Lord Jesus looked Pilate right in the eye and said, “My Kingdom is not of this world; if it were, my servants would fight.”

What if we finally gave up that whole idea? What if we laid down our defense mechanisms? What if we framed our relationship to the world and to our neighbors and to our enemies in ways that lined up better with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ? What if we laid down our power and our rights and our weapons so we could love others, even if it costs us? Especially if it costs us!

What if we really believed that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness? I know, laying down our weapons and rights in order to love sounds like a recipe for making the Church weak. But, in fact, Nothing. Could. Make. Us. Stronger.

If we just had a little faith. Just a tiny amount.

Please, Lord.

The situation is that our lives and this country and the whole world is even more troubled than anybody thought. And the people around us know right now, more than they’ve ever realized in your lifetime, that the answers cannot be found in government or science or technology. The answers will never be found in politics or parties or protests or platforms. It won’t work. It’s never worked! They’re looking for the way, the truth, and the life right now more than they ever have. And you’ve got it all in Jesus Christ!

Why would we offer anything other than that?

Just an idea.

Peace,

Allan

 

6 Comments

  1. Rob's Dad

    Leonard,
    “Don’t fight” – that’s a cute idea. It’s stuff like this that got you run out of NE Tarrant County.

    #48

    ps – next time someone tells me we are in a culture war, I will try to remember the conversation with Pilate

    • Allan

      I told somebody at lunch just today that it takes about 6-7 years for a church to get tired of me talking too much about Jesus, talking too much about the Sermon on the Mount and the desert temptations. Too much Gospel and not enough Paul. There’s a limit to what Christians will tolerate out of their preacher trying to follow the King. It was a little shorter in NRH, a little longer in Amarillo. But, yeah, it’s always a problem.

  2. Howard Holmes

    It’s likely a stupid question, but what is the benefit of loving others?

    • Allan

      The benefit to yourself or to the people you are loving?
      You’re right in the way you characterized your own question.
      Even if there were not mountains of empirical evidence and millions of anecdotes and tons of personal experience that speak to the surpassing benefits of loving others, Christians believe it is enough to love others to be more like our Father in heaven, who causes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust, who loved us first, who sent his only Son out of his eternal love to die for us while we were his enemies.

  3. Howard Holmes

    If I understand your answer, the benefit of loving others is so we will be more like God, (Wasn’t that the sin of the Bableites?). This only kicks the can down the road. What is the benefit of being more like God?

    • Allan

      I believe the sin at Babel is in trying to make a name for ourselves, trying to reach God on our own terms, even trying to become our own God. Same as the sin at Eden. Living our lives apart from the will of God.
      From one angle, I suppose becoming more like God/Christ benefits us because we were all created by God in his image. We were made to be like him, to live like him, to be in community like him, to love like him. So things naturally work better for us the more we become like him and the more our lives line up with his plan for us. It’s why most people feel really good when they spend some time and energy serving others. It’s natural. It’s what we were created to do.
      Another angle is that becoming more like God honors the one who gave up everything to reconcile us back into a righteous relationship with himself. While we were still sinners, while we were enemies of God, he died for us. What kind of love is that? Almost impossible to comprehend. But I’d like to have that same kind of love in my heart and share it more freely with others. It demonstrates an acknowledgment of the great and at least some level of understanding of the magnitude of the gift. I guess it’s one way of showing gratitude. It’s impossible to receive a lavish gift like that and not want to thank the giver.

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