Is it just me, or are a lot of today’s spiritual conversations beginning to mirror mainstream political debates? Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m talking Church structure or U.S. foreign policy. Perhaps advances in technology have simply made long-time arguments easier to engage, but there seems to be a ever-growing list of disputes sparking friction between those of us who call ourselves Christians.
As a result, the running dialog about “what the Church should really be all about” has started to sound a lot like a FoxNews open forum or CNN partisan debate. And to be perfectly transparent, I’ve probably thrown my support behind almost every talking head’s perspective at one time or another. Some days I feel like a spiritual schizophrenic.
- “The Church cares too much about weekend services! It’s really all about social justice!”
- “The Church has let go of her morals! It’s really all about holy behavior!”
- “The Church is obsessed with crowds! It’s really all about meeting together in homes!”
- “The Church is becoming a social institution! It’s really all about standing up for godly virtues!
- “The Church is hungry for money! It’s really all about adopting orphans!”
- “The Church is too focused on temporal earthly things! It’s really all about eternity!”
It’s really all about…
No, no, it’s really all about…
(I feel like I just transcribed a segment from the O’Reilly Factor).
Now I could make a solid, biblical argument for nearly every one of the above perspectives. The Church is undeniably called to worship, to justice, to holiness, to teaching and relationships and virtue and care for the poor. But our most passionate arguments seem to be triggered by what we’re doing or think others should be doing. Our actions. Our forms. Our behaviors. Our “fruit.”
Let’s be honest, we obsess over our preferred flavor of self-righteousness like opposing political parties. We trade in moralism – all of us do – all the while forgetting the One thing that actually sets us all apart and draws us all together: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. The truth is there’s nothing – absolutely nothing – any of us can do to be “more right” with God. Yet that’s what we squabble over the most.
If we all returned to that One uniting “Root,” I wonder how the dialog might change? Is it possible that our petty, political debates over who’s “fruit” is more valid, important, or holy might just melt into a beautiful tapestry of diverse, gospel-fueled expressions?
Right or left. Liberal or conservative. MSNBC or FoxNews. There are plenty of things that provoke our differences, but only one thing that makes us the same: Our undeniable need for a Savior – for a righteousness found outside of ourselves.
Doesn’t make for much of a nightly cable news show, but might make for a more beautiful expression of God’s Kingdom.
“Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing?”
-1 Corinthians 4:7 MSG