Monday, June 30, 2008

Jesus for President - The Issues

I am reading a book written by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw called Jesus for President. This excerpt called The Issues was awesome. What would it look like in the church if ALL subscribed to this principle? All of the petty differences on doctrine cause too many rifts in the church today. Check this out:

As I (Shane) was growing up in East Tennessee, my political worldview was carefully crafted by Bible Belt culture. I had all kinds of views on the hot-button political issues. But mostly I had ideologies, which aren't very compelling, even if they are true. I've learned from conservatives and liberals that you can be politically correct and still be mean.

I can remember ripping liberals up in debates on homosexuality. But I didn't know anyone who was gay or who felt like talking to me about it (which is understandable). Years later I met a fellow in college who shared with me that he was attracted to other men and that he had grown to feel that God had made a mistake when God created him. Far from finding any sense of community or intimacy in the church, he was alone and confessed that he wanted to kill himself. I thought that if this brother cannot find a home in the church, who have we become? I marveled at the complexity of the struggle to understand our sexuality, a complexity I couldn't understand until the issue took on a face and had a story and cried tears.

We would do much better to create communities in the church in which people can find intimacy and love than to split congregations over issues. Christians should stick to replicating the sacrificial love of Jesus toward gay people and trust that this loving service will do more to transform people than laws ever could. Besides, the contradictions in evangelicalism are clear. Take divorce, for example, a sin Jesus spoke clearly about. The divorce rate of evangelical Christians now surpasses that of the rest of the population in the United States. Evangelicals are getting divorced, and gay folks are wanting to get married, and religionists keep accusing homosexuals of destroying the family. Yikes. If we truly had a church in which people could love and be loved, we would tanscend so many divisive issues and be free to become the people God has created us to be.

After all, our deepest longing is for love, not sex. As my celibate mentor reminds me over and over.

"We can live without sex, but we cannot live without love."

And there are plenty of folks who have a lot of sex but very little love, and plenty of others who have never had sex at all but experience a great deal of love.

As I continued to wrestle with complex human and political issues, I resolved myself to one thing: the starting point must be that the church is a place where we can grapple with difficult questions with grace and humility. And I believe that, even more important than thinking identically on every issue, we must learn to disagree well. Our ability as a church to disagree well is as powerful a witness to the larger society as our uniformity on every issue.

I really loved that last part that I put in bold. Could you imagine what would happen if all churches did this? Think about it..................................................................................................



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