Thursday, July 17, 2008

arm's length Christianity

There is a "Christianity" that holds others in Jesus at arm's length, not fully accepting them in practice. I see this, and I am saddened, and even at times, angered by it. But it's a part of life here, and one has to live with it somehow.

This phenomena doesn't mean you can't interact with them well, and I sense that part of the problem comes from me recoiling from such, so as to avoid controversy. That well could be.

The Christianity of Jesus welcomes and embraces all others who are in Jesus, regardless of what they believe in peripheral to the faith, issues. And this faith welcomes and receives all others, not as full fledged Christians, but as those whom God loves, and in his Son has reconciled to himself, so that they might be reconciled to God.

When I see others marginalized in this false practice, I identify with the marginalized, even when I can't entirely line up with those being marginalized, in their thinking. I end up keeping at arm's length those who do that to others.

This extends to all kinds of people in the world, as well as to all kinds of Christians. And since I choose to extend my hands to such, I'm identified as being on their side, and believing what they believe. I'm willing to be misunderstood, though, as I remember that Jesus was misunderstood routinely by the religious leaders of his day.

What would you like to add to these few thoughts on "arm's length Christianity"?

2 comments:

Mike said...

Aahhh, what would we do without the world of blogs my good friend?

"...holds others in Jesus at arms length, not fully accepting them in practice."

Would you agree Ted that I can accept a brother/sister as a believer and not agree with some of their practices? I think that's what I hear you saying - making sure.

When it comes to ecumenicism, it frustrates me when someone around the table (usually the pastor with the most tenure in town or the biggest church) can define the participants.

When you and I minister to, and alongside the marginalized, that's exactly where we need to be. If that causes us to be marginalized ourselves, so be it. Remember Jesus' words in Luke 12:5?

Blessings Brother!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike,
Nice to meet you, all the way from NM! Blessings on you and the church, there!

Amen, I agree! And this extends to all kinds of things, and how I look at those things, depends on the nature of each.

Yes, we need an open ecumenism, which embraces all who call on the name of the Lord. And such a table may end up with those who need the Lord and will benefit from that table. Or who need some clarity in some things that might be gained from the fellowship there. But just my take.

We do need to be willing to be misunderstood and ill-judged, like our Lord was- even, sadly to say, by other brothers.