Been thinking about so many in the Jesus Movement who focused on the Person of Jesus, His Words, His walk best as we could figure it, and both living out as well as proclaiming the GOOD News (not false news, white-is-innocent news) of Christ Jesus. We recognized -all- have sinned, including we ourselves.
We realized what messes WE were and the absolute need to surrender to Jesus Himself.
Most of us had long learned (and often now forget the lessons) of trusting mere humans, especially big-shot demagogues whether in a pulpit or political office be it federal, state, local or what-ever.
We’d seen and often ourselves experienced plenty of drug overdoses, false eastern -and- western religious extremes to the extent we at least to a degree, were wary of accepting establishment ethics which at times were anything but ethical. We were not up for celebrating friends and family members being shipped home in coffins from wars we did not support.
Power-bases of pretty much any segment of society were mostly suspect.
And then a good many of us experienced the (in my view) mostly unavoidable disillusionment of our own leaders falling, selling out to the old lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life. We saw people of “our OWN KIND” (note this) get super angry, refuse to forgive, get into positions of power and become hard, mean, ungracious, unwilling to yield and share, to -rightly- compromise in far less than essential matters.
Often methodology of how we might do life together, church or prayer gatherings, the color to paint the place, etc., etc., became hills to die on.
The core old nature loomed (and looms) large as time goes on -unless you either learn or re-learn what dying to self is all about. Unless you keep coming back to loving God and your neighbor even when you disagree on various matters.
Ancient truths like “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity” are often tossed in favor of a personal/shared-culture of MY WAY or YOU ARE EVIL.
Many and varied gatherings of human beings including folks linking with this or that local fellowship regardless of cultural type have and will disintegrate over time. Because loving people in close fellowship while we are still imperfect, sinful, mistake-laden, or just not in agreement about how to do X, Y or Z (methods) is ccccccoooooooommmmmmmoooooonnnnn. It ain’t love, but it’s sadly, common.
What it is not to me, is surprising.
Focus on self rather than Jesus will always find a large audience, and they will lobby and pay well to support such an “ethic”.
Personally, I’ve always thought the “culture wars” were more about pettiness, one’s personal comfort zone than loving, serving or manifesting anything like faith, hope, love, grace or kindness to “the other” who doesn’t kiss up to your personal favorite expression of cultural life -and I do also massively include “cultural christianity”. No point in capitalizing that second term as it has nothing to do with Christ.
Jesus was and continues to be COUNTER-CULTURE in this sense. His followers were and always are running up against the stream. The problem is that you may have decided that you and yours are THE righteous ones in any cultural fight. Winning is more important than loving. Rubbish! Nonsense! NOT even close to a scriptural ethic there…
How we doing with loving our enemies? Forgiving our family and friends or current/former church or ministry members with whom we disagree -when, if we’re honest, due to our personal preferences more than anything scripture says about anything?!
How are we doing about a possible “root of bitterness” which defiles -us-?
How am I doing in these areas?
See, getting a fat-cat job, the acceptable office hair-do, wearing the right clothes, carrying the right Bible translation into the sanctuary, using the “proper” terminology in discussions at the local or larger church level, aging and freaking out about the cost of discipleship as though Jesus never said much about it (try John chapter 15 every day for a week and let’s talk) has allowed rust, decay and pettiness to rule in many a professing Christian’s life, many a local church, many a so-called “Christian” workplace.
The Jesus Movement was about Jesus moving.
He still is.
And He’s moving among His people to love people unlike them.
How are you and I doing in this? How are your heroes doing with it?
I believe these are essential heart/gut questions that we must answer for the sake of Jesus and HIS GOOD NEWS for others.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn