Saturday, September 1, 2007

I've been thinking...

a lot lately about how we demonstrate our love for Christ in our interactions with others, and what exactly is our role as followers of Christ. I was raised in a Nazarene church and they are very focused on "holiness." I don't think it served me well and I have worked hard over the last years to come to grips with what it means to be saved by grace. I think I have begun to get a handle on a healthier perspective and have begun to see my salvation as an act that was completed at the cross and not something I can gain or lose by my perfection (or obvious lack thereof).
I am now really sifting through what I perceive to be a divide in the focus of people of faith. There seems to me to be a hard line on one side that says "if you are saved you will act this way" and another side that says "as long as you believe then the pace at which God convicts you to change your ways is not my concern." Now I will say that I was raised with a clear bent toward that first theology. I do not think it is the best way to view things. However, I can't come to grips with the second one either. Where is the balance? I feel like God obviously calls us to love our neighbor, the oppressed and all of His creation. How does that translate into action?
I think people see the church as being so full of hypocrisy because we have a list of "sins" that seem to rank higher than others. We ostracize some for their sins and overlook the "lesser" sins of our own. How do we effectively minister so those who are ostracized for their sins when you know that the eventuality is that they need to turn from them? We let the "average" sinners - you know the regular people who make regular mistakes - work in church ministries but would we let the "big" sinners? Why not? Isn't all sin the same to God?
The other big divide I see is a political one. I've actually heard some family members (only part joking) say that they didn't think democrats could be Christians. I know other people think that republicans are so uncaring that they can't possibly understand the teachings of Christ.
This isn't a quandary I'm gonna solve by blogging about it but I really want to start a dialogue between people who are on different sides of the issues and figure out where I land in the mix. I'm kind of tired of cookie cutter faith. I want to figure out how to live a life that is radically different because of who Christ is and what He has done. What does that look like and where do I start?

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