Friday, April 9, 2010
I have a precious friend whom I have known since the early days of my walk with Christ. There are many things that we do not fully agree on, and there are many things that I have written about and posted on this blog that have rubbed her the wrong way. There are some things that she just outright does not like and does not agree with. I love this friend so much, more than she may ever know. She is bold, yet gentle and loving. She is inquisitive and seeks understanding. I love that she challenges me, questions and digs for meaning and truth. She doesn't let me get away with flippant comments or ideas that were not well thought out. Sometimes my passion gets the better of me and takes hold of my thoughts, and this precious friend, she calls me on it, forcing me to reign in it and refer back to Scripture. You just cannot fathom how I love this friend.
For quite some time now, we have had an ongoing conversation about the healthcare issue. I have loved the conversation as it has challenged me a great deal to be sure of where I stand. Because it has recently been brought to my attention that some do not agree with my "political" stand, I am going to share some of the conversations that my friend and I have been having (with my dear friend's permission of course).
There are a few points that I wish to clear up first though. The most important one is this: I am not political, nor am I taking a political stand on anything. I am part of God's Church. My citizenship lies therein, based on Philippians 3:20. I am not in favor of the political healthcare bill. I AM in favor of the sick being visited and taken care of. I care not what the government does. Yes, I do pray for the leaders, and yes I do pay my taxes (giving unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar), but my concern is for the Church. My calling and my gifting lies in that. Are we (the Church) doing what God has called us to do? I am not involved in politics, but when the political system fleshes out an issue that the Church SHOULD be addressing, I will speak to that. Not to how the political system should fix it, but how we as the Church SHOULD be responding. If you are looking to be offended by political partisanship, you will probably succeed here. But you must know my heart. I am not political, nor am I speaking to defend any sort of political action. I care not about politics. I am speaking to defend the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the fatherless and the widows. I speak to spur the Church to question, challenge, and delve into the creative imagination that would allow us to envision some other alternative to what we are doing now. Not referring to the government. Referring to us, the Church. Is it possible that there is another way, a better way, to fulfill that calling that Jesus left for the Church? Is it possible that the Church has ceased in growing because we have ceased imagining life any other way? This is what we do because this is what we've always done and clearly it's the right way to do things. But what if there's more? What if we are missing something?
Next, I wish to make it very clear that I would never dare to call into question anyone else's state of salvation. It is not my place, as I am not the One sitting on the Throne. There were some who took offense at a phrase that was used, "I have heard some, possibly well-intended, comments coming from those who claim to be followers of Christ." Where this phrase has caused offense, I do ask for forgiveness. It was not intended to offend, as I am in the category of those who claim to be a follower of Christ. This was not meant as a derogatory statement, referring to "so-called" Christians. I would never presume to make such a statement. There is no such thing as a "so-called" Christian. All we have from each other is our own claim, and I would never dare to question anyone else's claim.
I must also make it very clear that I am not speaking on behalf of any other person or organization. These are simply thoughts that have been so heavy on my heart based on my time in the Word and my time with the Lord. I am attempting to reconcile my life with the Word of God, desperately attempting to have the two line up, but very aware of my own failures.
I am ok with disagreement. I think it's healthy and challenging. But again and again, it is our responsibility as the Church to return to Scripture and be sure that what we are doing lines up with what is written for us. The disagreement must never turn personal, but must always return to Scripture. I am trying to be a part of the Church of God. I'm trying to be a part of building that Church up, and just wondering and exploring there is another way to do this than what we are doing now.
Just as it says in Jude 3, we are to contend for the faith, struggle with it and continue to seek. If we cannot ask questions, challenge the status quo, and re-examine what we are doing for the sake of staying on the right path, without folks feeling threatened and/or outraged, then what are we doing?
I'll share the conversations that I have had with my sweet friend, as I am sure there are many who see things the way that my friend does as well. I love her boldness to challenge where she disagrees. I welcome you to do the same. I would just ask that it stays focused on the topic, and not get personal.
In all things there is grace and peace.