Monday, April 18, 2011

The Christian Condition

Do you ever wonder why we think its our job to decide who is and isn't a Christian?  We'll sit in a Starbucks, an office, a church and read everyone in the place like a book.  He's a Christian, she's not...I wonder what his story is...he needs Jesus...

We are sick people.  We all need Jesus.

From what I can read in scripture, Jesus taught and loved, and built relationships.  He sees us all as children of God whether we know it or not.  Whether we are running from God, to Him, or standing still.  We're all God's children.  So why are we compelled as Christians to decide who is in and is not?  Or even further, why do we feel that it is our duty to tell other people who is or isn't a Christian?

In the midst of the recent drama with Rob Bell's new book, I've been trying to figure out why so many people took such deeply-rooted sides against him and his book.  Perhaps it is because as humans, we seek to assign people motives to their actions.  So, although many people hadn't read his book nor heard him speak they assigned him motive based on the current events and climate of debate.

For example, a friend of mine recently criticized Rob Bell as using the controversy to sell books.  So according to this perspective, Rob Bell isn't bringing up ideas and questions to help us know God or spur change in our hearts; instead, he is simply using controversy as a platform to make money.  Really?  And yet you've never heard him speak or read his books and you know his motives?!

But if the change we all long for in our own hearts and for the Church as a whole to happen, won't this cause controversy on its own?  Won't this cause growing pains?  Won't this make some people inflamed and others ecstatic?  Isn't this what we're really looking for?  Someone to look us all straight in the eye and challenge us to love without reserve, with open arms, and with a fresh view of who God truly is.

Yet, by assigning motive to others' actions we shield ourselves from the ideas that could challenge and break our false beliefs and propel us to further love for both God and people.  Because we're all children of God.  Even those who don't agree with us.

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