DA DA DA DA DA.
Only those who are passionate about music theory will comprehend the content of the previous caption, but I digress.
"All You Need is Love" is one of my favorite songs to both perform and listen to. The reason for my adoration of this song is not the arrangement. My musical appreciation in this instance is rather philosophical. John Lennon was a man who could not have been farther from evangelicalism. Yet this song could not be closer to capturing the nature of The Kingdom of God with the philosophy Lennon injected into the lyrics.
The axiom found in this classic piece of music is apparent in the scriptures and is what initially attracted me to join the "missional" church movement and in sequence distance myself from the "attractional" church model. One must not misunderstand, I am over joyed I made this transition and could never see myself returning to the latter. My reasoning is that I am personally exhausted and at times disgusted with anything resembling an "attractional" (come, see, sit, never take action unless your a minister, compare, compete, absorb, and support our fancy show style) church. However, In my zeal of resurrecting the missional church described in Acts I have discovered a well hidden trap that has recently been exposed by God's intervention due to recent events.
I realized that in my journey of becoming missional I was dangerously close to practicing and teaching a works based theology in our church (Commission). Works, although crucial in the context of displaying and revealing our faith (James 2:18, Matthew 25: 31-46), is not what defines it. Rather it is evidence of something much more sacred. In my experience the source of our good work as the church is easily forgotten and rarely discussed in missional circles. This source is an apparent theme of The Kingdom of God and is even listed as a requirement in the life of EVERY disciple. This week I was lucky enough to get my hands on a book written by Gregory Boyd ( The Myth of a Christian Nation) which reminded me of this foundational truth.
What distinguishes a true follower of Christ is not charity, but rather the catalyst that will inevitably manifest it, and that defining characteristic is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that we can give everything we own to the poor but if this selflessness is not a direct motivation of Jesus' love assimilating into our every action, than our charity is static. This is because scripture tells us that Jesus cares far more about the origin of our decisions than the actions that transpire from it. With this knowledge I humbly realized something.... I have failed yet again as a christian and a leader of our church plant.
In using love as a litmus test, I realized that our foundation as a community of believers was flawed. Do not misunderstand our community has done amazing things since its inception. 100% of Commission's resources and tithes go directly into aiding our city and not to our institution. However, I have never given any consideration in altering our hearts while designing a different approach to "ecclesia" (church). In personal reflection I realized that both individually and in many cases corporately we have deteriorated, or in a more relevant term ..."FAIL".
In the scriptures love is clearly what separates The Kingdom of God from the Kingdom of man. In fact, Jesus says the entirety of the law hangs on these two commandments "loving God and loving our neighbor (the Koine Greek defines neighbor as everyone we have contact with). This is how we effectively plant the seeds which will grow the Kingdom of God. Which is important to remember because the "Kingdom of God" is what Jesus discussed more than any other topic.
So in closing we are to first love God and everyone unconditionally, selflessly, humbly, sacrificially, constantly, and even dangerously the way Christ loves us and out of that love charity will ultimately emerge. If the DNA of our decisions is anything contrary to Christ's love than we have ultimately failed and our extinction in any culture is both certain, and imminent.
-For The Kingdom