It’s coming folks, the division is inevitable. I see it coming as we reach this new shift in the global state of Christianity. So many are finding another way… going back to living the reality of God’s set apart people: a people that are not enmeshed with the values of the Empire (can I say the American dream). There will be communities living differently, loving differently, taking care of each other and those in need, sharing, re-imagining how we interact with the earth. Living in a way that looks more like Jesus and what he talked about as the “kingdom of God,” the “dome over which God reigns,” to use Greg Boyd’s phrase.
To use the scripture that comes after what most hear about “being yoked with unbelievers:”
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
“Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
And there will be many who will resist. Those who’s faith and religion are so solid and so certain that any shaking, rethinking, or questions result in a monumental destruction of all that they hold on to… possibly even salvation itself. They have yoked following Jesus and national politics, “Christians” who are yoked with war and the slaughter of innocent people, capitalistic economics (can anyone say greed?), consumerism, individualism, judgment, misuse of natural resources, American dream. Enmeshed… inseparable… clearly things that followers of Jesus MUST be a part of.
They will accuse and fight, maybe even kill, those who have chosen another more subversive way. Rumors will spread, sides will be drawn… one will respond with judgment and aggression… one will serve, love, and seek reconciliation. One side will fight… and one side will just do what they feel they are led to do transform the world one relationship at a time.
I received my first admonishment last week. An old friend who cares so deeply for my heart and my ministry. No doubt, very scared for where his dear friend is going and what I am teaching. His words:
I am mourning over what has become of your faith. I will probably hurt for along time over the implications of your current beliefs. I’m extremely sad as I write this. I fear for your soul. I cannot but regard you as an enemy of the gospel and of the cross and a false teacher who has heard the true gospel and rejected it. You have been deceived by the enemy of your soul. I will always love you and appreciate the amazing person you have been in my life.
I see no constructive purpose for further dialogue between us unless you recant what you are currently embracing.
The heart of it… Galatians 1:6-9
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be under God’s curse!
It’s an inevitable conflict from those who see the gospel as one very small and easily threatened list of “right beliefs.” To see a gospel that is “good news,” encompassing, proclaiming of the reality of the kingdom of God here and now (sounds a bit like Jesus’ gospel, if you ask me), and an open invitation for those who never thought they had a place… this allows only for opportunity… for world change… for reconciliation. Peace.