Still ruminating (what an excellent word! Look it up, especially the etymology, or verse 2 here) on the conference from last week. While some might write it off as heightened awareness (what our family calls the Red Volkswagen Syndrome-right after we bought a red VW Beetle, we saw red VW Beetles everywhere) I’m going to take the risk of being labeled hyper-spiritual and claim that I see signs of God moving in the area of compassionate Christianity.
It starts with the fact that even before I knew about the conference last week, God was making me painfully aware of both a persistent and growing problem, and an obvious, Biblical solution. The problem is what I will inadequately describe as the growing irrelevance to our world, at least from society’s perspective. We don’t have anything to offer to society–that they can see. If you have no clue that you’re “lost”, why would you be looking for “salvation?” Studies of postmodern worldviews (we’re there, might as well stop fighting it, and learn to function in it) indicate that people today aren’t near as interested in what you think as they are in what you do. So a church that expounds flawless theology, but doesn’t show any signs of making a real difference by living out love, doesn’t mean much to them.
Which brings me to my solution–OK, it’s certainly not my solution, it’s Jesus’ solution, but I can now see it–the Church needs to start loving! How radical is that?!
Which gets me back to the point: As this thought was starting to form in my own mind and studies, my wife pops up, out of the blue, and asks if I want to go to Baton Rouge, in two weeks. Pretty random, but sure! If nothing else, Louisiana in February has to be warmer than Alaska in February. That’s when she told me about the Greater Things Conference. “Hmm, kinda ties in with what I’ve been thinking on anyway. It’ll be cool to get together with a handful of other folks thinking on the same thing.” Fast forward two weeks, with over a thousand folks all in Baton Rouge in response to a call from God to love people through concrete, life-changing means!
We arrived home Friday night, and I received my first issue of the Leadership Journal. It’s the Outreach Issue! Then Sunday morning in worship, a team of college students from Central Bible College in Springfield are visiting to do ministry during their spring break, and they put on a powerful drama about Jesus helping break the bondage of addiction, abuse, and other hurts. Coincidence? Only if you don’t believe that God has a plan!
I’m excited–God’s moving, and his people are getting on board! And, at the same time, we get to help those people who our world is running over, or casting aside. You know, the ones Jesus kept loving on while the religious leaders were teaching theology?
I’m going to keep ruminating on what this means in my life, how I walk it out. But our communities need us, and we can’t keep hiding in our Christian enclaves, waiting for Jesus to come. He just might be waiting to come until we’ve brought more citizens into his Kingdom!
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. -1 John 3:17-18