Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tearing each other down is easier than...

It’s always easier to break out a windowpane than it is to glaze one in place. Dragging statues down to the ground is easier than sculpting them. Smashing, whatever comes to mind, takes less effort or mental energy than it does assembling something new. For example, it’s easier to critique a book than it is to write one.

Whether it’s taking a car apart or tearing down an old house, the act of demolition requires less from us than creativity does. Never forget, it’s easier to bend and warp than it is to make straight. I imagine the same is true of raising kids, relating to your spouse, or the way we treat someone else’s reputation.

Right now, America seems more divided than at anytime in recent memory. Between both of the recent RNC and DNC conventions (along with their ensuing the political circuses), the senseless violence where police officers have been targeted lately, and the perpetual erosion of solid family values, we are obviously in big trouble as a nation.

I’m not telling you anything new, am I? These are dark times, troublesome times. Times such as these spark intense turmoil and tend to demoralize the best of us. And, the more we focus on our differences, the more divided we become. The church isn’t immune to this division either.

Unfortunately, as MLK Jr. once pointed out, Sunday mornings have the most segregated hour of the week. But this segregation isn’t as simple as an ethnic divide. If you look around most congregations, you might notice the lack of socioeconomic or cultural diversity as well.

Until our local congregations can realize there is no competition between lighthouses and until we show the world what radical unity really looks like, we have very little to offer to a wounded and bruised world in these dark times. By the way, when jihadists behead Christians or blow up innocent believers, they aren’t looking at denominational affiliations. Therefore, we might need to consider that other Bible believing people aren’t our real enemies...

Sadly, I don’t own a magic wand or silver bullets -- there are no simple solutions to the problems we presently face. I do know, we owe our young people a better future than the one we’re setting them up for. I can’t claim to know what all we need to reconcile our splintered nation, but I’d venture to say a little less hatred and lot more healing would help.

What we don’t need more of though, is more fear-mongering, more racism, or more vitriolic rhetoric which lambastes one’s political opponents. I have never had to point out to my wife 15 other guys who don't love my wife, to simply say to her, “I love you.” Political candidates (and as far as this goes, church leaders too) shouldn’t layout their negative perceptions about those they view as competition. No. Leaders who want to persuade their followers, should stand on their own strengths without ever pointing out the weakness in others.

At one time, we here in America were known metaphorically by sociologists as the great melting pot, as when many ethnicities merged together. Then, later we were referred to as a salad bowl, where the different ingredients ended up in the same bowl but never coalesced. Pretty soon if we aren’t careful, we’ll come to be known as an empty, grease stained, fastfood bag.

Why not say, “Jesus is the answer” to all these problems we face? A wonderful cliche some might claim.

Perhaps if Jesus is the answer to this whole crappy set of circumstances we are presently facing, then perhaps the church will begin to take our partnership with God more seriously. By that, I mean spreading love, peace, unity, and the message of salvation through Jesus to a lost and wayward world -- and ceasing to stake superiority-claims under different church banners/marquees/signs, or worse yet, claiming “God loves our Presidential candidate more...”

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