Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

5/02/2010

Good News for All or None


If the gospel isn't good news for everybody, then it isn't good news for anybody. And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display.

To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to those who are the "un" and "non", they work against Jesus' teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone.

As the book of James says, "God shows no favoritism." So we don't either.
~Rob Bell (1970- )

Labels:

7 Comments:

  • At 5/02/2010 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When do we know to draw the line? When is sin called sin? Is there no standard? Is there no requirement for salvation? When does the Church take a stand without compromise?

     
  • At 5/02/2010 1:10 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Anonymous,

    Interesting. I didn't see the quote the way you do. I preached on sin and repentance today (From the Letter of the Law to Costly Grace, but felt that the everybody matters aspect of the quote from Rob Bell fit with Peter's revelation described in Acts 10 that even profane Gentiles could find redemption through Christ. He's speaking against labeling and in favor of service and compassion. I'm not sure how these nullify the truth of the ubiquity of sin and our need for repentance and amendment of life. Perhaps you see it rightly and I missed something, but I did see it differently.

    peace,
    frank+

     
  • At 5/03/2010 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I believe the difference in where one draws the line depends on what you truly believe the purpose of the church is. If one sees the church as a group of sanctified, believers who ahve attained a certain standard of behavior and a homogenous theology, then maybe you can justify whether you include or exclude based on compliance with a set of accepted norms. If one sees the church as a place where broken people come to get better, it gets a bit more messy. Just like people in a hospital have different levels and degrees of need, so do those people in churches. And just as a hospital cannot exclude someone because they are too sick, too smelly, too messy, too complicated, neither can churches. I believe that would just be wrong.

    I come to church to learn, to be healed, to seek, to find, to feel loved unconditionally. I don't wish to have to be looking over my shoulder wondering if the other people in the pews think I'm good enough to be there. I have enough of that to deal with inside my own mind.

    The scripture says, that if I believe in my heart that God has raised Christ from the dead, I will be saved. And as I grow in Christ, I believe my life will change. But change takes time, and not everyone grows in the same ways. And that decision is God's and not person's.

    As far as arguing over what is sin and what is not? Who is to say what is worse, the one comitting the alleged sin or the pride of the one who is pointing the finger? Actually, they are both wrong.

    That said, the church does have a responsibility to keep its theology to orthodoxy and keep heresy at bay. To me, that's where the line is drawn.

    A different anonymous

     
  • At 5/03/2010 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I made no mention of excluding anyone nor did I judge anyone. My point is that when the church keeps compromising eventually it becomes the world.

    The Church can exclude no one? Is that really true?

    I am not arguing about sin but whether or not we choose to acknowledge it for what it is. Are unrepentant child molesters given free reign within a congregation? If sin is no big deal why did Christ die? If sin is no big deal where do you suppose you'll be if you don't, "believe in my heart that God has raised Christ from the dead....?"

    I come to church to worship, to find the proper perspective, to be loved, to love, to repent, to fall on my knees before our Creator. The Church is not about me, the Church is about Christ.

    I believe the problem is we want to the fruit without the labor. We want that warm fuzzy that all is well with my soul when it is not.

    The Original Anonymous

     
  • At 5/03/2010 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually, the ones that Jesus rebuked were the Pharisees who took such great pride in their outward holiness. He was forever offending them by hanging our with the marginalized, with thieves, con men, and prostitutes, and with the poor, many people who wouldn't find themselves welcomed in the temple unless they cleaned up their acts. But those people were seeking love and truth. And they found it in Him, and their lives were changed - probably not in the way the Pharisees wanted to see, but changed nonetheless - and those believers went out and changed the world.

    the second anonymous

     
  • At 5/03/2010 7:40 PM, Blogger Clarence said…

    Monday, May 3, 2010
    As to drawing a line in the sand, I would be on the wrong side of the door. But so would you be also. The righteous are in Heaven. The church of God is for sinners, of which I am one. No one's sins are greater than mine. At the final judgement, I must be convicted of being a Christian, and so must you. God can and will work out these little details
    Clarence

     
  • At 5/04/2010 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As one who does not have all the answers I must concede. Please forgive my questioning.

    The Original Anonymous

     

Post a Comment

<< Home