Saturday, August 4, 2012

Love Wins

I put this disclaimer up front so that you can be disappointed now versus later. This is not any kind of opinion about Rob Bell (I do have one, this is just not it). This instead will focus on another invaluable topic and also serve to distract me from what I really should be doing: packing.

I have been bombarded as of recent with this idea of "The Culture Wars". That being, the war that seems to be going on between those who proclaim Christ and those who would seem to be against Him. This has always been a topic in some form or another in my life I'm sure, but two major events have really got it on my brain and so I thought I would share. The first event was a personal viewing of the movie Lord, Save Us From Your Followers which takes an intense look at the question "Why is the Gospel of Love dividing America?" The movie is well worth the watch and I recommend it as an incredibly valuable discussion piece about our role as Christians in society.

The second event was one which we are most familiar with at this point, and that is the division being caused by a delectable Chicken Sandwich. The owners of Chick-Fil-A came out with a statement that put them supporting the Biblical family unit and sets them against same-sex marriage. I keep reading more about this issue and so I don't claim to know enough to inform you about what ALL is going into this. Once again however, the "culture wars" are at play and there are very angry people on both sides of the issue. Homosexuals are mad that their lifestyle is not supported and certain Christians are mad because the homosexuals got mad. Interesting mess it would seem. From what I can tell, Chick-Fil-A is far from being prejudiced in their service and the way that they treat people, I mean, they almost always say "my pleasure" to me after I say thank you.

So what about the question that the movie poses: why IS the Gospel of Love dividing America? The word used for Gospel is literally translated "Good News". We are to be about the business of telling people the "Good News" that Jesus loves them, died for them, and that there is hope! Instead, one of the most uniting things we seem to have done recently is to buy more 8 count chicken nuggets.

If you went to Chick-Fil-A to support them, good for you (I'm personally feeling that a milkshake would be quite heavenly myself). I am not trying to say that supporting a business with Christian ideals is wrong by ANY stretch of the imagination. However, is that ALL that you've done recently? I fear it could be easy for us to feel like we're living out the Gospel of Love by buying chicken sandwiches and that we're not telling people from all walks of life that Jesus loves them.

I personally am finding it difficult to find the balance between following Christ's example in calling people out as He did when He said "You wicked and perverse generation" (Matt 17:17) and loving them extravagantly and selflessly as He did. I find there to be a difficult balance between being hated for the sake of Christ and seeking respect that comes from open and loving conversations with those I don't agree with. Despite my minor uncertainty in how to best be Jesus in these situations, I say with confidence that I'm seeking this ideal out as I feel we all should.

One thing I know: Love Wins. We do NOT need people on street corners hitting people over the head with a large KJV telling other people that God hates them and to repent before they burn forever (for any reader who really just prefers to get down with a King James Bible, no disrespect intended). Does that really sound like Gospel to anyone? What is the "Good News" in that message? Yet all too often Christianity is defined by such things.

We NEED to love everyone more. And we also need to start at home and in the Church. There's enough back biting and bad mouthing in the world, choose not to let it enter our Christian family. Do not let the evil, bad mouthing, combative style of the world infiltrate our homes and churches. Let us instead infiltrate the world with GOOD NEWS that JESUS loves immensely and died to make ALL people free.

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