I’ve already blogged on the immaturity and at times foolishness of folks preferences shared as though they were with certainty THE plan of God for all people everywhere.
Here I want to say that as Bible-based as you’d like to think you are, or as led of the Spirit as you are convinced you are… you’re often wrong, laden with mistakes, out of balance at the very least. Me too.
Honeymoons end. All of them. Now IF you are in some place of serious power, leadership, even control over the feel, the form, the atmosphere of a Christian gathering be it Sunday or whenever, you may well not want to read this or even consider it.
When you tout YOUR BRAND of CHRISTIANITY as though it was the only authentic, genuine, valid and life-giving form of The. Church. you have likely become -besides enthusiastic and blessed- a judge of the rest of the believers on earth as “lessers than” if not “in error”. Your own sense of value, protection, personal likes and preferences are simply not found as a template in the New Testament. One size DON’T FIT ALL y’all! What of it?!
We pimp our brand and brand others who don’t do it like us.
Well I like really deep-flavored vanilla ice cream, even coffee ice cream… and rich, deep, caramel and/or butterscotch topping. You may prefer something else. There are folks who could care less about vanilla and even hate caramel.
Ice cream is ice cream though it may not be your chosen flavor.
How some talk about how they “do” church, outreach and service as Christians at times becomes far less of a witness for Jesus Christ and His kingdom than it does their favored brand. Status and classism anyone??! “Christian class and caste system” ‘eh??! Not humble, not mature, not encouraging to other Christ followers and in the end, a self-righteous and carnal judgment on the rest of your family in Christ who “just don’t get it!”.
There is nothing wrong with being immensely thankful, sharing the graces God brings among the people of God you gather with! There is something truly wrong with sounding like an advert and cheerleader for you-and-yours continually and especially when bringing negative verbal salvos at “those other guys” who neither see things nor do it like you do.
History brings us continually to the lessons of the aged clinging to the old ways of music, preaching, evangelism and you-name-it in their comfort zone, and at times railing against the young and new forms of doing these. History also teaches us that the new and exciting, the mountain-top experiences of fresh goings-on among groups of Christians eventually fade. They often get fully supplanted by the next generations’ fresh ideas. Around and around this goes and has since the earliest days of the Church.
Consider the number of persecutions brought BY CHRISTIAN AGAINST CHRISTIAN on this very thin and in my view, quite lesser-important matter vs. actually loving one another, serving one another, forgiving one another, in honor preferring one another.
Straining at gnats and swallowing camels comes to mind.
I’m not saying we must cozy up with icons and ancient liturgies if we find no personal intimacy with God in those ways… .nor am I saying everyone must for example, embrace deep blues music or ecstatic dance or dub bass at 150 decibels as part of most every local church service. I’m simply saying at times our sense of right and wrong, our sense of spiritual discernment and judgment of one another is petty, childish and at times so far away from the clear, core commands of Jesus that our brand and not our Lord and Savior gets the big nod or the worst condemnation.
That, my friends, is simply another way of demonstrating idolatry.
Form does not equal substance. What floats your spiritual boat may drill a hole in mine -or vice versa.
Let’s take care to keep focus on the One Who alone is God, the God of infinite variety, style and color, indeed the God of churches you and I sometimes wonder about!
The wonder is how incredibly patient and gracious He is to you and me -as He also is to those we want to diss because “they don’t do it like us”.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn