Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Heart of the Matter

Some people have said they're a little confused by this blog. And I think it's because they can't quite put a label on it. They can't figure out if it's "liberal" or "progressive" or "missional" or "emergent" or "confessional" or "ecumenical" or "evangelical." Nobody has confused it with being conservative quite yet, but even that might come in time. I think this is a good illustration of how completely unhelpful all of these labels have become. And I'm not even going to try to clear this up. Actually, I think what this blog is about is pretty simple. In fact, the heart of the matter is, I can draw it with two arrows. God comes "down" - through Jesus, above all, but in all kinds of other wonderful and fully incarnational ways - to save, love, bless, reconcile, and set us free (from sin, death, the devil, and anything else that would KILL us if it could!)...SO THAT we are free to love and serve our neighbors. Another way of saying it is: God's loving mission comes TO us through Jesus Christ...and it comes THROUGH us to the world. (Martin Luther said this way better than I ever could [and with more fancy words] in "The Freedom of a Christian" [1520].) This is the lens through which I see pretty much everything. I think my frustration with church-folk and other Christians is that it seems so simple! And we keep getting it so wrong. The biggest mistakes we make, of course, are: + wanting to keep the gift Jesus brings all to ourselves + making up idiotic rules about who is "qualified" to share the gift and/or who is "worthy" of the gift(did ya'll miss the part about how it's a GIFT?!? + just plain and simple acting like it's not a gift at all (from the looks on some of our faces and the sound of some of our worship services, an uninitiated person peeking in might think we had been given some kind of deadly disease!) Anyway, it's just not all that complicated. Sorry for the confusion.

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The Bottom Line

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love becomes slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Galatians 5:13-14