Let’s do this. Pull up a chair. Let’s get real. Because if we can’t talk about this stuff, then what’s the point? If you’ve been around me long enough, you know that I don’t want to talk about unicorns pooping rainbows. Let’s get down in the mud.
This isn’t about World Vision. I could give a flying flip about World Vision. If the whole organization folds tomorrow, I would feel a little sad, but then I would get on with unrepentantly not caring about anything except myself. My God is big enough to deal with the collapse of World Vision, and he doesn’t need my help.
I get why people feel strongly, and I don’t blame anyone for choosing to stop supporting WV. It’s not my choice here, because I don’t have a problem with the policy change. We all have our deal breaker issues in Christianity, issues that we think run contrary to what we believe Jesus expects from us. If WV declared they were no longer going to support Muslim children or hire black people, I would consider stopping my support. Not because I hate starving children, but as a sign of solidarity to my understanding of who Jesus is and what the gospel means. We all have our passion points. For me, I think the church should care the most about serving the poor and eradicating racism. If you don’t, that’s ok. I want to convince you that I’m right but that makes me selfish. Let’s agree to disagree. Hold hands and celebrate that the kingdom is big enough for all of us.
But all of this fighting amongst ourselves still saddens me. I wonder if this is how Paul felt when writing to the Corinthian church.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by [Facebook and Twitter] that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow [John Piper],” or “I follow [Richard Stearns],” or “I follow [Jen Hatmaker],” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Were [any of them] crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of [any of them]? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13 ESV)
Church, we are better than this. I appeal for unity. We don’t all have to believe the same things, have the same passion for political/social/biblical issues. But in the name of Jesus, let’s submit ourselves under his authority over all.
Peace. Love. Kindness. Unity. That’s my vision for the Body of Christ. But I don’t think we have to ignore our feelings. We don’t have to be the family members who silently loath each other and nod and smile during Thanksgiving dinner. We can still express ourselves. We can argue. Let’s not be too afraid to dig into the nitty gritty. God’s not counting on us to hold the castle. Let’s wrestle with the Cross in our lives. What does it truly mean to be a Jesus follower? Who is welcome at the table? Let’s discuss (well, really I’m talking, but feel free to comment!). I love talking about God’s Word with my brothers and sisters.
I submit to you that the table is much bigger than we can ever imagine. Let’s not limit the amount of grace that Christ has to offer us. If my biography (ok, self-published auto-biography) reads anything, I want it to say that I preached that there is room for all of us at the table of our Lord.
Come you who are happy and healthy, come you who are depressed and medicated, come you who have life figured out, come you who believe marriage is only for heterosexuals and those of you who don’t, come you who just bought another luxury SUV, come you who can’t read or spell, come you who is still drunk from last night, come you who are unrepentant in your greed, come you who are self-righteous, come you who are self-loathing, come you who are pro-choice, come you who have been hurt, come home-schooling soccer moms, come workers for social justice, come missionaries to foreign lands, come you who believe in evolution, come Democrats, Socialists, communists, capitalists, come you who love the Bible. There is room at his feet for all of us – wherever we are, wherever we have been, wherever we are going. There’s no magic word for entry. There’s no question you must get right. There’s no perfect doctrine you must fully understand. Just come and worship our King, who died for you.
Come with questions. Come kicking and screaming. Come with anger. Come with uncertainty. Come with doubts. Come knowing everything. God is so big, and he can handle it. His love is so wide and so high and so deep. There’s nothing you can ask him that will offend. There’s nothing you can tell him that will make him stop loving you.
I have been wrong about almost everything in my life, at least in part. So I’m not here to say that I’m right and you are wrong. It’s quite possible that I’m wrong here again, and we should fight to the death over the Biblical definition of marriage, love and attraction among humans. But I don’t want to. I’m ok with being wrong on this one. Grace will cover me if I’m wrong. That’s the beauty of the gospel. We can get it wrong! We don’t have to have it all figured out. My Jesus came to save me where I am – dirty, broken, and dead wrong about what’s important in life.
And if these beliefs make me not the right kind of Christian, or the right kind of evangelical, I’m ok with that too. If that makes me someone who has caved to culture or someone who compromises on her beliefs, I know who I am in Christ, and I am grateful for his grace. My Jesus knows my sin, and it’s so incredibly massive. Getting this wrong will pale in comparison to the blackness of my heart for which he’s already forgiven me.
I’m just so very much in love with this God-Man. And I want you to come to our table. It’s nice here. The water’s warm. Come and be loved by the Creator. We can spend time ripping each other apart or trying to convince others to agree with us. Ain’t nobody got time for that. The King is here! I want to be with Him instead. Let’s march forth in unity under his cross, submitting to his leading, not our interpretation of his leading. We will walk out in faith, willing to be wrong, being his representatives of love on this broken and beautiful earth.