Friday, May 20, 2016

What If?

I have always been a fan of the question "What if?" In light of the turmoil, weeping and gnashing of teeth coming out of the General Conference meeting of the United Methodist Church over the past week or so and the general state of affairs in organized Christianity (an oxymoron if there ever was one!) this question has been on my mind. I'm not saying I'm right- that's what separates me from most of our leaders- I'm just asking. "What if?"

During the time of Jesus' earthly ministry he was surrounded by a very unique crowd of people. The religious leaders, the political leaders and the people who thought of themselves as righteous didn't care much for the Nazarene. Those who "took up the cross and followed him" were a pretty motley crew. Fisherman, tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, radicals and (gasp!) women were all included in the entourage of the Christ. His 12 disciples were often foolish failures. Jesus himself was the subject of almost constant ridicule. Even his mission- dying for us- was a little cra-cra. None of his earthy life happened the way WE would have planned it or involved the people WE would have chosen. It all sounds a bit ridiculous.

In 2016 much of the Christian community is up in arms over the inclusion of people they have deemed unworthy. The LGBT movement is fighting for the right to be a fully functioning part of the both church and society. Women are asking for more inclusion and leadership roles. Young radicals are challenging the notion that the church should have more influence on Jesus than Jesus has on the the church. Politicians manipulate our congregations for support, and many Christians are buying the BS (not even realizing they are once again ridiculing the Messiah with their words) even as the Jesus Freaks remind us that God is far important than country. Many of these things are being loudly condemned as modern Christianity going to hell in a hand-basket. But "What if?"  What if all of these things are simply the Holy Spirit guiding us back to the days of Jesus. Back to the days when grace was the rule and judgement was the thing that was condemned; when all were included, no matter who they were or what they had done; when community meant taking care of those around you, no matter the need;  and when the son of a carpenter became the only man on earth who really mattered, pissing off the powerful in ways we can barely imagine. What if all of this current turmoil is simply the Kingdom of God being brought back into our churches by the One who died so that we may truly live?

Like I said, I am not saying I'm right. But I do believe it's a "What if?" worth asking...

Because of Jesus,

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