I’m on the fringes of group called “Christians of the Messy Variety.” I’ve never actually made the time to attend the group meetings but I do try to read the books they are studying. Even though it’s kind of long, I REALLY like the title of the group. Their facebook description says “failure is allowed, doubts are inevitable, erratic growth, seasons of stuckness — all these things are part of being a human being that God loves. After all, if Jesus really loves us then He loves each part of us…” http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/st-peters/Christians-of-the-Messy-Variety.
I feel my faith is stronger than ever even though I feel very weak and vulnerable right now. For most areas of my life I’m content in the knowledge that I am just not going to get it right and that I don’t have immunity from life because I possess some high standard of truth. If I had continued on the same pattern of Christian growth from about 3 years ago I would have already made it to heaven with my 12 gold stars in my crown but I haven’t grown that fast. In fact to those phrases “seasons of stuckness” and “inevitable doubt,” I would add “living in a freakin’ desert.” yeah…I can relate to having no clue and begging God for a revelation.
I like this group also because they extend that grace and mercy and love and understanding to other people who don’t have it all figured out. I don’t get the idea that they are perpetuating a lifestyle of doubt, stuckness, and minimal growth but they just view those things as part of the process of having an authentic faith.
Now on the other hand here is where my judgmental views come into play. I cannot stand it when people call themselves Christian and cannot begin to speak or act in ways that demonstrate even a minute sense of grace, mercy, and humility. I want to scratch eyes out when I hear people spout they possess true knowledge. They may have the intellectual side of the Bible figured out but they’ve lost track of the emotional side. The side that tells us that whole reason we are Christians is because at some point we figured it out that we were lost without hope, and faced a whole bunch of black nothingness without surrendering to Christ.
The whole reason we can borrow the name Christian is because God became a man who came to earth to die a horrible death on the cross, and then was raised again in glorious surrender. And all of this was to provide away for us to spend eternity in Heaven with a Creator who would stop at nothing to show us a love that is incomprehensible. It was not so we could make everyone around us on Earth miserable with our self righteousness and piety. We many belong to a huge community of faith but if our eyes are more focused to what’s going on around this planet rather than setting our gaze on Earth we’re in big trouble. As Rachel Held Evans said in her 8/23 blog “Have these Christians forgotten that our first allegiance is not to our own interests or to the “American way of life,” but rather to the Kingdom of Heaven”
I came across a website today http://www.eighthletter.com/. It’s charging us all with the task of writing an eighth letter to The Church today. I don’t know if I can come up with a whole letter but I think this is what I would say if I thought anyone would listen. Church: Don’t carve your own way. Follow Christ. You aren’t right. Only God has it all figured out. Since we’re all in this together, let’s act like it instead of building walls and barricades inside and outside of our churches. Stop being offended. Hold on to love and grace and mercy and humility.
What would your eighth letter sound like?