You know what grieves me to my core? Like, deeply grieves me? And has done for most of my life because I’ve seen it up close, I’ve seen it destroy peoples lives. People that i love intimately….
The division of Christians around the world makes me want to vomit. And i’m not talking about an 80 year old catholic being a little wary of the very outspoken, tongues-speaking, 19 year old from another country. Thats difference of experience and opinion. I’m talking about hatred. Hatred brought on by a sense of self-righteousness. A deep ignorance of Gods love for man blinded by the ‘king of the mountain’ elitist ethos that drives home the truth that man is unsavable outside of the redemptive blood of Christ.
When Jesus was asked to speak about the stoning of a woman who may have been caught in adultery he looks at the crowd and said “Throw stones if you are perfect” – They left. He then looked at the woman and said “Stop doing what you know is wrong, you are free”.
When Jesus saw a most probable fraudulent tax collector staring at Him from a tree, he didn’t start a riot to lynch Zacheus, he invited himself over for tea. Giving everyone dignity and proving that freedom is for all.
When a member of the religious elite, whom Jesus passionately defamed for their self-righteous, stumbling-block ways, met up with him to ask genuine questions, Jesus met him where he was, and treated him with respect and dignity.
When other people were casting out Demons in Jesus’ name, Jesus not only held his disciples back from stopping them, but he encouraged them that they were working together, even if it looked like they were playing for different teams.
Jesus seemed to have more issues with those making more rules, than those who were commonly looked at as rebellious. One of his own followers was a Zealot. The rock he built his church on was the same man that denied him three times even after being told he would. Others jostled for more power in the kingdom, whilst Thomas the doubter is celebrated in scripture as one who risked to make sure it was Christ.
And yet when Rob Bell reaches out to those who have completely written off Christianity as a conservative boys club, he is only befriended by Francis Chan (it seems), as the rest of Christendom (most of whom don’t know why he is black listed), black lists him as an amazing communicator and one who connects with those who do not know Jesus but deeply crave something of meaning.
When Mark Driscoll is demoted, for good reason, a fight storm blows up. Not about restoring the mans dignity, but about a whole lot of OTHER stuff that makes us feel superior somehow.
When Christian bands communicate their wish not to be labelled as that, when Christian story tellers, artists, inventors, scientists wish to contribute to the good of the world without the baggage of the destructive ununited parts of Christianity, apparently that means they are Satanists, as well as quality creators.
We don’t like doing youth group with the other church, even tho we only have 5 members each because they dress weird. Or their building isn’t hip enough. They pray differently, or they have musical instruments we don’t like.
The petty conflicts in the church have ruined Christs good name throughout the world. Jesus is presented as an ugly, trashy, irrelevant, uncreative, judgemental beast. And He is none of those things.
We should be known by our love. Our ability to get along. The way we give preference to each other, listen to each other, go out of our way to bless each others lives so that others go “WOAH, that community rules, I wanna get me some” Instead of – “Why does that community hate each other, I want nothing to do with that community”