Monday, July 27, 2009
Things That Do Not Help
- Drunken pastor's offensive online chats
- NY pastor accused of filching funds for Botox
- Say amen: Ark. church holds Easter service in bar
And now consider this headline:
- Obama’s Christian Appointee to Faith-Based Program Says New Testament Teaching on Homosexuality Is ‘Not True’
If I had to guess, I would guess that mst of you find the first grouping, "disappointing," or "saddening," or "unfortunate," but I would bet they do not make you angry like that last one does. That last one conjures up words like "heresy," "anathema," and "abomination." I wonder why?
There are several reasons as to that "why." One in the tendency to forgive sinful human weakness - not a bad thing for all of us. Another is that a "reasonable" argument can be made to justify the action. (Church in a bar is reaching out to sinners and Botox could help make the pastor more 'attractional.') That last one though, that's messing with "essentials."
But ask yourself this - which of those will do more damage to people experiencing a life remade and transformed into the image of Christ? Look, let's be honest - they all do damage, but what does the most? For my money, it's the pastor stealing, or getting all drunk and randy online. The truth or falsity of scripture is an argument, but when you steal from me, or get rude (to say the least) to my daughter on line, well then I lose trust in those that represent Christ.
If in fact, the Christian life is a process of gradually laying myself at Christ's feet - of coming to trust Him with my very all - then is not something that erodes that fledgling trust an enormous problem?
The flip side, of course, is that if we get too legalistic and to judgmental about these poor souls, we erode trust just as much as letting it slide. But if discipline in some fashion is not exercised....
The 'heart of the gospel' is not a theological formulation - it is trust. Trust of a God that incarnated, died, resurrected, and saved us. We must be worthy of that trust.