I am no longer going to apologize for my inconsistent posts. The truth is that I have been trying to maintain my sanity while going through the most painful event of my life...and truthfully it is only getting worse. So I do not want to promise regularity when I am in the middle of instability. However, I have to confess a recent self realization that has literally brought me to tears.
I am a fraud.
It is painful to type and has taken me far too long to recognize. This cancer has gone undetected in the guise of my charity and "good theology". Until recently I was under the impression that I had a pretty good handle on the Gospel. After all; I made some major sacrifices when I jumped head first into this emerging "missional movement" thing, and I am leading a community of people who are literally transforming the methodology of church planting. This delusional reasoning was the source of my ignorance, excuse and my offense.
Without going into great detail (which would humiliate all parties involved) all that can be conveyed is that I was deeply betrayed. Not the kind of betrayal that breaks trust...the kind of deception that breaks hearts and alters ones faith in humanity. During this struggle I had forgotten the core principals of everything I believe to be essential in following Christ. In these moments Jesus offers us the ability to display His Kingdom in a way that is both attractive and unnatural. Regrettably, despite what I "believe" I have been far from gracious, forgiving, and merciful when faced with my current situation.
What is worse is that I literally felt entitled to my outbursts of anger and harsh words which are so diametrically opposed to The Way of Jesus. Frankly, part of me still feels my behavior is at minimum "understandable" and now that I have identified this false sense of entitlement it sickens me. As critical as I can be of the American Church I must admit that I too... am a hypocrite.
The point I wish to make is that when the rubber meets the road we have to ask ourselves; "Is this not the kind of moment in which Jesus instructed us to be different?". Is "loving your enemy" just a nice concept or is it the mark of a true disciple and the blueprint for bringing His Kingdom to earth?
I am a disciple of Christ and I don't promote labels but if I had to align with any denomination's theology it would be the Anabaptist. This means that I believe that literally loving an enemy is an integral part of being a follower of Christ and is not exclusive to the false concept of "mature Christians". I believe that an eye for an eye makes the world blind. I believe that we should literally bless those who hate us and pray for those who persecute us. I believe in the power of forgiveness and do not believe in the erroneous practice of "just retribution", but what am I DOING with my system of beliefs?
When our education is given an opportunity for application how do we respond? Isn't it meaningless at best if our response is not in direct correlation with our beliefs? The book of James addresses the symbiotic nature of faith and practice by saying...
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.- James 2:18 ESV
So in my recent self examination I am left with a choice. Do I chose to respond in the way that I (a deprave sinner) feel is just? Or do I humble myself as someone who believes in the power of a greater kingdom and act accordingly?
As members of the body of Christ we have the ability to live out His Kingdom of unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness. Not on our own because of our sinful nature but with God's providence. However, the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one, and this is my confession.
For The Kingdom,