Friday, January 27, 2012

You Say Potato, I Say Pohtahtoh

"The issue between Trinitarianism and modalism at its essence is one God manifesting Himself successively in three ways, or one God, three persons, simultaneously existing eternally. Your best understanding now ... would you say it's 'one God manifesting Himself in three ways' or 'one God in three persons?'" ~Mark Driscoll.

Apparently if you answer that question wrong some folks label you a heretic. It reminds me of an incident about 16 or 17 years ago. As a child I was raised a Christian but I don't think I paid much attention. As a teenager I went all Prodigal Son on folks and didn't return to my faith until I was in my early forties, so I ended up with a renewed faith in Christ, but with few theological or denominational biases. My attitude was if you preached Christ crucified, Risen, and Coming again I could worship with you, an attitude that I still pretty much hold today, almost twenty years later.

What happened was I changed churches within what I thought was the same denomination. During the new member class the pastor was quite adamant about the communion service. He believed that the minute you ate the bread and drank the wine it was transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ, and the members of the church I had left who belonged to another branch of the same denomination, a branch that believed the communion bread and wine were symbolic of the body and blood, were heretics.

I was amused, much in the way I think Driscoll's question is funny. Seriously, you spend time agonizing about stuff like that? Well, if it makes you happy and keeps you out of the hair of folks trying to enlarge the kingdom, then have at it. But that's how we end up with thousands of denominations bickering about minutia, thoroughly confusing non-believers who can hardly be faulted for perhaps thinking "These folks can't make up their own minds, why would I let them change mine?"

Some things, of course, are critical to what constitutes a Christian, things which can and should be non-negotiable. The rest of it? Not so much.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

About That Hate Religion/ Love Jesus Video

On January 10th of this year a young man posted a video on You Tube, Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word, that instantly went viral, attracting over 14,500,000 hits in just nine days and creating a raging controversy in the Christian blogosphere. You can view the video here. It's a video sure to enrage traditionalists and encourage rebels.

But I think much of the controversy and commentary misses the point. Those 14 million viewers are likely just the tip of the iceberg. Our country is full of people who think Jesus is cool, religion, not so much and they are unlikely to darken the door of a sanctuary anytime soon. What an amazing opportunity for the church. Why don't we stop arguing with them about religion, which after all, is not germain to their salvation and start talking to them about this Jesus they like?

This means we're going to have to get outside of our comfort zone, we're going to have to get up out of the pews and into the streets and meet these wonderful seekers where they're comfortable. Will we have to change the way traditional churches work? Of course not. These people are as full of prejudice and closed minded about the church as we are about those that threaten the way we do religion, what we have is an incredible common ground, we all like Jesus. So why not meet there?

At The Fellowship Of The Cup we've spent the past 18 months reaching out to these folks with the attitude that "You hate religion but think Jesus is cool? Fine, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and let's chat." The results have been incredible, we don't lecture them, we respect their thoughts enough to hear them out without criticizing, and then we simply say "Here's another way to look at it." And folks who were really antagonistic have warmed to scripture, gotten involved in the Fellowship, and have begun to rethink their belief systems.

It's really a matter of focus. We get angry when we hear the "I hate religion" part and completely miss the opportunity in the "But I like Jesus."