Thursday, March 6, 2014
There is a line in a Gaither song about how to live that goes something like this. "I'll take the time, to see anothers point of view". This has been my quest for quite a long time, over a decade, and it has been quite eye opening and quiet fulfilling and somewhat transforming.
There is a story of a small legalistic denomination, the Worldwide Church of God, run for years by some typical megalomaniac leaders, who, from the top down, decided to repent of their twisted direction and seek a better path. They renamed themselves Grace Communion International. Now because of their past baggage I am pretty sure I would not want to join them, but the process of changing the foundations upon which they functioned, and the people who helped them rethink and reform their way of ministry is quite refreshing.
They have emphasized the original motivation that sent the Son of God to a world that would reject him, to a sinful world. God must have refused to see the dispicable things and kept His heart on the original imprint of His image upon them. This allowed Paul to tell the bigger story of the Kingdom that seems to be summed up in the phrase in II Cor. 5. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them". Now I realize that what follows this is an invitation to be reconciled, but I wonder if the kind of Christianity I experienced spent way to much time pointing out the ungodly ways of the unbeliever and failed to see how many folks outside the faith are just pretty decent people. They are not all ax murderers. They shop at Walmart, try to pay their bills and keep their cholesterol down, just like me.
Paul seemed to appeal to this kind of gentle appreciation for the culture around him in his sermon in Acts. He is not far from you, for in Him we live and breathe and have our being.
The Trinitarian Conversation led by Baxter Kruger, an old acquaintance, and Paul Young, author of The Shack, and others following the applications of the Torrence Brothers, Irish theologians, now deceased, are really on to something beautiful and balancing about how to relate to those who are not in the faith. I think grace is a way of life, not a commodity that I get that allows me to dispise the lost.
Like one of them teachs, to be a lost sheep implies that someone owns you, and is seeking you. Thats a gracious thought.