It was a really tough week for Christianity and it’s image. The World Vision fiasco was the latest in a growing line (Chik-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Duck DyNASTY) of what is becoming an increasingly very public unveiling of the divided heart of the Church of God’s people today. The “war” has become more openly intense.
The “us” versus “them” has been on display, but more obvious than ever, is that this is not simply a matter of Christians versus non (culture) – but that there is a war of “us” versus “them” “inside the walls” of the faith.
- Conservative versus Progressive
- Fundamentalist versus Modernist
- Traditional versus Emergent
- Right versus Left
The broken Body of Jesus has split and labeled itself almost to death – and the Body parts are turning on each other. Twitter was littered with proclamations of denouncing the term “Evangelical,” which most Christian believers would describe themselves as. I even said here that the Family is unrecognizable right now, and makes me crazy, crazy to the point of wanting out of whatever it is we are showing to have become.
The Family of God is infighting, and has lost it’s Way, it’s Vision is blurred. The image of Christianity is deeply wounded, because those who bear the name of Christ have lost their Image of Christ. Many are left dumbstruck, dizzy and distraught – and wonder how we can move forward. Is it possible? Where do we go from here?
We stand at this crossroads and look. We wonder if there is an ancient Path, the Good Way where we can walk, and find rest for our souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)
We look Left and don’t like what we see. We look Right and don’t like that either. We can’t go back – we know we love Jesus too much to go back from where we’ve come.
So we must – we MUST – go forward.
Forward beyond Evangelicalism. Forward beyond labels. Forward beyond traditions. Forward beyond isolating sin to renounce to the exclusion of Love. Forward. Into the foggy unknown. Shunning the left and right, leaving the behind, and pressing on, forward, toward what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13).
What is forward? And how do we move there in unity? It’s more than a what. And it’s more than a how.
Forward is a Who, a Person – the same as Forward was yesterday, as It is today and as It will be tomorrow – The Lord Jesus Christ.
We are a Resurrection people, birthed from a Resurrected Savior. We can, and will rise from this latest pile of ashes. These dry bones can and will have Life breathed into them. This is our destiny.
But to step into into Resurrection, there must be a Crucifixion. To have new Life, there must first be a death. Resurrection is indeed our Life and our destiny – but to realize it in the fullest we must walk out the destiny of our Lord, including the death that precedes the Life.
And so I am calling for, and praying into the death of all things not fully, centrally, completely, pre-eminently, absolutely – the Lord Jesus.
The Way Forward is up a hill, with a Cross. The Way Forward means taking the nails and spear – and breathing our last. The Way Forward is being laid in a tomb with the rock closed over it. The Way Forward must experience death…
…so that the Way Forward comes alive – new.
If these current events reveal anything to the Church today it is that we are not yet dead. We love the flesh, the Self, our life. We have not tasted the Cross, and we have not so known Christ.
And until we do, we will see more of what we have seen in the World Vision events, and its predecessors, and in fact, more. We may yet continue to progress toward schism.
Let it not be, Church. Let it not be my Brothers and my Sisters. Let us all unite, finally, around the Cross of Christ. Let us take that hill together and those nails. Let us all breath our last. Let all of our anti-Christ divisions and ideologies bleed out. Let us be laid in a dark cave.
Let us be raised again – moving Forward, along the narrow Path, eyes fixed on Jesus, following the Way to Life.