I continue to be troubled by the churches and their retro like reaction to sectarian prayer in municipal chambers. Yes, freedom of religion and freedom of speech are certainly issues here.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.- First Amendment
There are so many nuances involved in freedom of expression (even the location of that expression) and the establishment of religion (yes, even Christianity). However, the troubling part of all this political wrangling for me comes from within “our own house”; the apparent distance between brothers and sisters in Christ!
The very scriptures (see Eph. 4:1-6) indicate that there is one Lord, one body and one baptism; should spiritual leaders then not talk, rather than support this open ranting in the media! Given that so much distance exists between the convictions of the Body of Christ in our city should we not humble ourselves, come before the Lord and let Him make reconciliation?
Rather, we war in the courts, demanding our own rights in a nation surrendered long ago, as Christians chose silos and sanctuaries, even ministry to foreign fields, over true communion! It is always the community that suffers in the end and the next generation that then gives pause to their consideration of the gospel!
Is this the Christ of Matthew 16:24-26? Here, Jesus instructs His disciples as the sons of God, not to demand privilege from those in authority (even though the sons of those in authority were often granted unfair privilege in that day), but rather, that His followers obey the law of the land.
Interesting as well, are the means…go down to the lake, catch a fish and extract the tax from its mouth. He always seems to recommend some “mud in your eyes” response from His followers…that’s the kind of faith and Kingdom dependence required of Christ-followers.
At times, like these disciples, I am perplexed by what I am called to do. Always overly idealistic and more dependent than one might believe on His resources! Yet, I continue to look for a day when the churches of our city find better means of ministry, than warring against each other, demanding their own right! Worse yet, historically, we then retreat to own campuses, isolate ourselves from each other, if not compete?
If I don’t get a witness, or if my own values contradict your deepest convictions, while both of us confess to be of the same spirit, should not the Love of God and compassion of Christ compel you, convict me, even grieve us until reconciliation occurs?
If not, then there is no power behind either our professions. When one of the organs in my body is malfunctioning, my entire body suffers…was this not Christ’s reason for use of that strong metaphor and the necessity He commanded for the sacred act of communion?
Where does accountability come in? Where are the men of God in our community? If my spirit does not bear witness with yours, then we must talk, or I must question American Christianity!