Keeping Jesus WaitingPosted: July 3, 2015
“The evangelical church is contributing to the political and social polarization in the nation instead of acting as peacemaker. The church’s responsibility is to be for the political sphere (and the culture) what it cannot be for itself. The church is not to hold those on the left in contempt, neither is it to be co-dependent on those on the right, but rather it is to provide moral/ethical guidance for the whole of the political sphere.”*
Reading this made me happy. Although I tend toward social conservatism, I’ve long been uncomfortable with the evangelical attitude that God is the champion of the political right, that conservatism equals godliness. Lately, I’ve been even more disturbed by the near panic of the Christian right and their insistence on preserving a culture which benefits themselves and their preferred lifestyle. As Christians, we aren’t supposed to be spending our lives making ourselves comfortable. That idea is absolutely antithetical to anything Jesus and the New Testament writers either said or modeled. And yet, the proponents of Christendom have never had a problem justifying such a life.
Once the above quote had sunk in a little, I did kick back against it a little, thinking, this is true, but the same can be said for progressive Christianity. And I believe that applies. But evangelicalism’s jingoism has been running on fumes for much longer and is more entrenched (in a rut, in other words). And for myself and most of those I minister with, we are either evangelical or from evangelical backgrounds, and I have no doubt this is where the cleanup needs to start. Progressive Christianity is at least partly a reaction to evangelical churchianity, and as such, they’re entitled to it.
We can either be missional or we can serve ourselves. Not both. If we want to be missional, we can’t insist the culture conform to our preferences, which were never anything like a perfect reflection of God’s Kingdom anyway. Instead, we need to allow the culture to inform us about how to serve them – in other words, be Christ to them – in a way that’s meaningful to them. It’s no good trying to provide someone with a sense of identity when they haven’t eaten in two days, and it’s no good talking about the hereafter if they’re outraged about the social injustices they see all around them.
“Jesus is waiting for the local church to join him in the culture. Christ is not waiting for the culture to join him at church.”*
Good things are happening! Let’s pay attention so we don’t miss anything!
* From “Following Jesus To Burning Man”, Kerry D. McRoberts