Saturday, January 03, 2009

Stuck left and right.

So, we went to a wedding. Pretty nifty wedding too. Lovely couple. Great service. Solid families behind them

The wedding was deep in the hinterlands of Michigan. Conservative church. Lots of salt of the earth types of people. Some home schoolers. Very nice people. Some of the literature I saw in the rack made me wince though.

It got me thinking about the various type of Christian I know.

I know some really, really, really conservative folks.
I know some untra-liberal folks.
I know some moderates.

I know people who think they're liberals but they're really not. They just try to fit in. Peer pressure is alive and well.

Most conservatives I know really are disciples of Rush Limbaugh more than followers of Jesus. At least they know more about Rush.

I know folks who have closed their mind to anything contrary to what they already know. Can't figure out who's most stubborn about that. Is it the really conservative or the really liberal?

Plenty of people who call themselves believers couldn't articulate a defense of their faith if needed. There's a hugh 'knowledge gap' out there.

Many I know are defending their faith all the time even when they aren't being attacked. But their enemies aren't anybody they have ever personally encountered. They just believe what others tell them. So, to their way of thinking there is an enemy of Christianity behind every corner.

Others don't buy into the 'friend and enemy' type of thing. They just want everyone to 'just get along'.

Some are almost universalists believing that because of God's love everyone is getting into heaven.
Others believe that unless you have a real specific time and place where you met Christ the door of salvation is closed to them.

Most of the really conservative vote Republican. The Jesus they serve looks an awful lot like Ronald Reagan.

Most of the more liberal types vote Democrat. The Jesus they serve looks and acts a lot like (pick one) a. Barak Obama b. Mother Theresa c. Jim Wallis.

I know a whole lot of folks are believers who believe the gospel is incomplete without social justice.

Others think social justice is an add-on to the Gospel. It's really suspect if you think doing socially good stuff buys you brownie points with God and somehow competes with grace.

I know believers who are egalitarians (relates to biblical roles of men and women). Others are complementarians. (Most people don't care much about this whole thing but in some circles it is a litmus test for orthodoxy)

Some Christians I know speak in tongues. Others believe that 'tongues' is a thing of the way distant past.

Some dunk. Others sprinkle.

So, do you know any of those types? Sure you do. You're probably one of them.

Here's what sometimes gets crazy. Sometimes I don't like being around either group. The really conservative seems to get mad if I use my brain. The really liberal seem to get mad if I actually believe in something or someone. Sometimes, and this is to my detriment, I do what I can to fit in. I lean to the left when it's helpful. I lean to the right when needed. I think to myself, I don't want to say too much because then it's going to get ugly. Therein lies my problem.

I need to speak up. The really conservative need to hear an articulate 'other voice'. So do the really liberal. Those who claim to 'believe' but just come to 'sit and soak' need a fire lit under them. Those who don't know how to 'sit and soak' and are always doing need to learn how to 'be'. Anyone who equates Christ with either political party should have their head examined. But me ...I need to speak up, to use my voice, to exercise my influence. Maybe you do too.

You see, there's something in Scripture about the unity of the body of Christ. I don't think that means we walk in lock-step like Stepford wives. But there is something about us sharpening each other. I really liked the conservative folks I met at the wedding. I just don't agree with them on everything. But I do admire a whole lot about how they live. I'd love to speak into their lives and have them speak into mine. That can't happen unless I take the risk of interacting. Sometimes I choose a lazy path, keeping to myself. I lose. They lose. There is never going to be much unity until we learn to talk to each other. That won't happen until someone or a whole bunch of someone's take some risks and start talking.

Maybe I'm supposed to be that someone. My hunch is that you are too.

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