That is not a casual angry response. That’s the title of the neighborhood small group we are dangerously close to launching. All I have to do is compose, print, and distribute. We have projects up the wazoo and in and out of the ying and yang, whatever they are, and don’t forget the gump stump. How about “crawling out of our ears”? But for all the ToDo lists, this keeps floating to the top.
The preacher once again inspired me. I’m sitting there scribbling notes in the blank spots in the bulletin, scrawling in the margins, stringing arrows here and there. I see prophecy all around me. I read blogs and listen to the news. I’ve read Banished. I see that Christians are perceived as judgmental and narrow, hateful. People need to see more love, hear more love, feel more love. We need to reach out and talk about the love of God. We need to explain the love of God. But before we fly off the diving board we need to step back and outline who God is. Why does He love us which leads in a short straight line to why did Jesus think He had to die on a cross. What for? To save us from what? Sin? Ourselves? Separation from God? There is, according to scripture, a hell and it’s hot. I suggest He saved us from the Father’s judgment. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and He opened the earth to swallow a few thousand Israelites when they refused to renounce the golden calf and side with Moses. He keeps His Word.
The message of God’s love without the reason why we need it through Jesus is nothing other than Flower Power recycled from the 60’s. Jesus loves you! Yeah? So does my boyfriend just about every night. What does Christianity have that I don’t have already?
A few years ago in my life in Human Resources, our insurance agent opened a discussion of his liberal church in Nashville and suggested I wouldn’t like their broad acceptance of gays. He asked me how I would like sitting next to a gay couple? I’d love them. I’d put my arms around them as I do everyone. I’d treat them as I do anyone else. He just about drove off the road. And if they wanted to be in my small group, fine. The difference you’re looking for is that I would not hesitate to clarify to them that their lifestyle is sin. That it is not just my opinion. It’s in the Bible. And I would communicate that message as gently as I could, in love.
So much of the disconnect between Christians and non-Christians is the lack of love in the message and lack of message in the love.
God is a God of love, judgment, wrath, discipline, and holiness, not necessarily in that order. Jesus is the bridge to fellowship with the Father. The approach to what people need to hear, how much they need to hear and the method of presentation needs to be flexible and under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Different strokes.
I’m hoping we can create bonds, trust, and open avenues of honest conversation about God, conversations that will lead to commitment and growth within a safe environment of love. And popcorn. Gotta have popcorn.