Peace on That
|This last Saturday I was fortunate to be part of a celebration in Los Angeles. Our denominational region of the American Baptist Churches gathered to celebrate 100 years of ministry in the city. Over 1000 people were there as we worshipped, sang, read scripture, and prayed in not only English, Spanish, and Chinese, but Portuguese, Korean, Russian, French, and many other languages. It was what I imagine when I read The Revelation of John. In Chapter 7 he paints the picture of people from “every tongue tribe & nation” gathering to praise and worship God. I experienced that Saturday and I am thankful.|
Yet even after something as powerful as our celebration was Saturday, I often wonder why the Church is not growing and having more of a real impact on people’s lives. Where are we seeing real transformation that relates to the numbers of church goers we have in the world. What I am talking about here is not just about Jesus. It is about our actions matching up to our words. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk. It is about marriages, relationships, honor, love, and how we, as people of God, treat others. Are we being salt and light in our communities? Are we being instruments of God’s reconciliation?
Today I’d like to include something for you to check out to help answer those questions. If we truly hope to be part of reconciling the world to God so that people from every tongue, tribe, and nation can praise God, then we will need to figure out a way to respond to what follows. It is from James Manning at peaceonthat. I have never met James personally, and yet I consider him a friend. We correspond through the blogosphere. Sometimes his language is a little rough. But if you can get past that and focus on the message, you’ll be challenged. I am including a little part of his post today, titled “Some Problems I Have With Christians.” You can read the entire post here.
I was raised in a very religious home. My great-grandfather founded the church I attended. My grandmother read the Bible to me almost every night, then Reverend Porter did the rest on Sunday mornings. Over the years I’ve studied the Bible and have probably read the entire book at least three times in my adult life.
There are things that stick in my mind and there are scriptures that I can reference and many more I know where to go to find them even if I can’t recall them verbatim. I have a good understanding of biblical principles. Basically, I have a decent working knowledge of the Bible.
As for my faith, I firmly believe in God. He has answered numerous prayers and I have no doubt that He is with me. As a human, I wonder about the validity of other religions. But as a Christian, I know that only through Jesus Christ am I saved.
I say all of that to present one of my greatest conflicts. I believe in the Bible – but I don’t trust my fellow Christians. That’s not a blanket indictment of every Christian I know. I think Scott has a great church and every time I heard him speak I would say to myself… I got that. I’ve met a lot of good people and there were a few that I knew were Christian simply by the way they carried themselves and how they communicated with others. There have even been a select few that I’ve been around and felt the presence of God. Their anointing was that powerful. So please understand that I’m talking in generalities. But I digress…
The fact is, the biggest problem with being a Christian is dealing with other Christians. I don’t like being around them most of the time. Many are judgmental, mean, arrogant, aloof, self-righteous and in general, not all that fun to be around. Many quote scriptures to fit their own needs. I actually had to leave a church. Not because of what the preacher was teaching but because of the people he was teaching. It was the rudest, cruelest bunch of people I’ve ever met.
Human nature being what it is, there will always be people that won’t represent their faith as they should. But as I’ve gotten older, it has gotten harder to listen to Christians discuss their faith then look at their actions and see neither resembling anything close to my understanding of what a Christian should be.
(as always, you know the rules. use whatever you want, but make sure you give proper credit, because it is all copyrighted! james, thanks for being honest. ©)