Thursday, July 6, 2006

who, really, is welcome?

it's around 6:34am and i have to tell you that i left my house at 5:35, got to Paige's around 5:45, and was ON CAMPUS and sitting in the Woodruff scholar lounge at 6:13. This woman drives like a bat out of hell. i kept thinking that i was glad she's a nurse in case we're in a really, really bad accident. but she's a good driver, so there's that.


i guess the thing i'm thinking about is the whole "who do we welcome?" thing in the church. i've been thinking about it a lot for the last few years, but especially in the last few months, and especially in the last few weeks. i have all these people in my life whom i love and respect, but for whom the inside of a church holds NO beauty or safety or longing. is it because the buildings aren't attractive enough? is it because our lawns aren't green enough? the azaleas aren't white or pink or red enough?

or is it because this "hierarchy" of sins we keep saying doesn't exist actually does exist? there's no hierarchy in the Bible-- the word clearly states that murderers and people who disobey their parents are equally guilty. i think the thing is, we are all equally guilty. and equally forgiven.

don't get me wrong-- i acknowledge that there is sin, and i agree with the lists of what they are. it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that it's wrong to kill, lie, steal, cheat, etc. there are some sins, however, that i find the church to consider especially repulsive. so what do we do?

well, we reject, of course. la la la la la, merrily skipping down the road of doing exactly what the world has accused us of--- kevin used the term "country club" yesterday in our discussion. it's true and how heartbreaking. and it's not you and you and you-- it's WE, us...if one of us is doing this to anyone, then we're all doing it to everyone. We are the Body-- one Body-- of Christ.

and if we consider some sins more especially hideous to our delicate sensibilities, why would we not rush to the scene of the crime, armed with grace and mercy in the hour of need? HERO units for our fellow man. instead, we make signs to remind them of how much God hates them and we bask in our smug sense of confidence that at least we don't struggle with that sin....

my heart cries out for something to be mended. not that this person would change and that this denomination would get a freaking clue or that this pastor would preach on such and such and blah blah blah-- but rather, that we would, as a people, become so utterly convinced of the beauty and faithfulness of the God we want to ram down everyone's throats--- sometimes i think that so much of our intolerance to the reality of neighbors on the planet who do not share our concerns, habits, political affiliations, belief systems is evidence of a darker unbelief that we are so desperate to mask. it's OKAY-- he's real, all this is true, but He is full of so much more power and grace than we know.

do i have a handle on it? no, but i'm becoming more and more convinced that the more i acknowledge what i don't know, the closer i am to finding the truth. Jesus simply does not make sense. love the unlovable ( you and I will differ on who is unlovable and who isn't)(and that's okay). love your neighbors. talk to samaritans, for goodness sake.

which doesn't mean "talk to bad people". it means that there's no place for prejudice in the body of Christ-- that Jesus saw a HEART and spoke to the longings sheltered there.

it's a little early to be thinking such things...perhaps i was inspired by my brush with death on my ride to decatur with Evil Kenevil (hm...i don't know that i've ever tried to spell that name). either way, it's always on my mind, and i'm wondering when we as a body of believers will wake up and realize that Jesus said that He would that ALL would come.

what part of ALL do we not understand?

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