10 things “FOR the church”
I follow a guy called “The Rev”. You should consider it. Today, he shared something insightful. Some might be offended by what he says. I hope NOT. I hope it challenges and encourages, gives voice to a pang in your heart.
I say before you read it that I agree with every word and have said so in less eloquent words. May God speak clearly through him.
1. Love God, love one another, love your neighbor, everyone is your neighbor. The message of Jesus is that we are to love everyone as if they are the most important people in our life. Even family dynamics should not get in the way of our love for others
2. What you do (orthopraxy) is as important, if not more important as what you believe (orthodoxy) We need to be people that follow Jesus example, and teachings, even if we don’t completely understand everything. Remember Paul said we see through a distorted glass, with dark tint now. Anyone who has it all figured out is a bit of an ego maniac (like me)
3. Stop trying to get the world to come into your church, and get your church (the people of God’s kingdom community) to get into the world. The answer to the worlds problem, including its lack of Christ, is Christ in the world. We are to follow Jesus into the places inhabited by the poor and broken and despised, not call them to us.
4. Christ is the center of our faith, not the bible. For sure the bible tells us of Christ, and this is its function. But we must start our hermeneutic with Christ, we must start our discipleship with Christ, we must start our dogma with Christ. For Christ alone is the author and finisher, the beginning and end, the way the truth and the life, the exact representation of God. The bible game ™ does not work. (the bible game is he who has the most scriptures with their addresses, taken out of context to support their argument wins) We are to be disciples of the WORD, with the word, illuminates by the Spirit of Jesus.
5. The church is not to reflect the worlds hierarchical structure. Israel sinned in asking for a king “like the other nations have” By being married to this structure we both create a system that infantalizes some, elevates others, and becomes the sin of our age (consumerism). Every joint supplies, and all gifts are used when we stop the top down ministry, and embrace the egalitarian nature of God’s kingdom.
6. Bigger is not better Jesus was so explicit about this it hurts. The kingdom of God is like a bit of hidden leaven. The kingdom of God is like a tiny little mustard seed. Jesus never neglected the masses, but he never trusted himself to them. We need not do great things, but small things with great love- Mother Teresa
7. In following Jesus we continue in his path, his ascension provided a comma, not a period. What am I talking about? Jesus fought against the religious leaders and structures that marginalized people for being sick, being female, and for being heretics. We don’t stop there, but we continue to follow his lead. We don’t say, well this is what Jesus said and accomplished for equality for women, so we will accept that but no further. We should be on the cutting edge of empowering the disempowered. We should be fighting for the rights of those that are oppressed, even if they are (gasp) muslim, gay, or drug addicts. Following Jesus means continuing the revolution, not considering it done.
8. There is no such thing as a Christian nation, and even if there was America was never it. The church married to the state is the destruction of the church. Our kingdom is not of this world.
9. There is, with absolutely no doubt, a bias in the gospels towards the poor and the marginalized. The church needs to locate itself with this in mind. Not to reach down from a place of power, but to recognize itself, as neighbor, friend, and fellow desperately needy, follower of God
10. Love God, love one another, love your neighbor, everyone is your neighbor. The message of Jesus is that we are to love everyone as if they are the most important people in our life. Even family dynamics should not get in the way of our love for others. (oh did I say this already? yeah I suppose I did) The way of the cross is a way that says, “I love you so much I will give my life and death for you, all of you”
please understand that I am the church too, so I say this to my self as well