As I view our country in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, matters become more and more unbelievable. Things seem to be said and done without proper deference to the truth or the notion that we’re all in this together.
I won’t bemoan the fact that no one seems to have a simple conversation anymore. I’ve done that many times and have heard the same from countless others. It seems to be a reality that our tactics these days are to either shout louder than the other guys or just call them names. Even the news is not the news anymore. It’s usually two or more people attempting to talk over one another about what they think happened. There have been times when I’ve had to do my own research to find out what the actual event being discussed was. I got all the opinions before I even knew what occurred.
This used to be entertaining…
I used to find all of this to be somewhat entertaining. I guess I still do to some extent. What really bothers me, however, is that these attitudes and actions have spilled over into the church. There seems to be little or no deference left for those of differing denominations, theologies, or Biblical stances. The “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality has become overwhelming. We been reduced to various camps within the faith and have no time or regard for each other. In all candor, that really grieves me. I can’t even imagine what it does to the heart of God.
At the center of Christianity is a call to follow Jesus. If we do that, it becomes increasingly apparent that the path on which he leads us takes us into a commitment to community. Your politics (and even your lifestyle) may be considered left wing or right wing (or some other iteration). You may even label yourself in these terms. But those inclinations of your heart and life should (in my humble opinion) be overridden by your desire to follow the One who saves you—namely Jesus.
From what I’ve seen (and I was a biology major in college) there aren’t many birds around that can fly on one wing. If we have two wings in the church, we’d better learn to use them in concert to ascend. If we don’t, we’re likely to go the way of the dodo bird. We’re seeing the beginnings of that already.
“What I’m saying is nothing new.”
The Gospel of Christ cannot be split down the middle. Jesus didn’t teach a Gospel of social action versus a Gospel of evangelical fervor. He was not a divided Savior. He was not schizophrenic, nor was he double-minded. Neither should we be.
What I am saying is nothing new. I’ve heard it all my Christian life. Still, we are living in days when this message has to be a resounding gong throughout the church. If we don’t begin to take it to heart, the faith community will be left with nothing to say to a dark and dying world.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]