Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fill in the _____

"I don't know if I can stay in this church," she said.
"Why not?" the council member asked.
"Well, I have a hard time accepting that our church allows each person to make their own decision on _____."

In Mike Foss' book PoWeR SuRGe: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church, the blank is filled in with a particular hot-button issue. How would you fill in the blank?

Some churches try to spell out just what their members should think about everything. One of my favorite Christian teachers, Marva Dawn, in her article Pastors and Power, says church leaders are often tempted to control others instead of following the example of Jesus, who taught forcefully but did not force his way.

Professor Dawn says: Though [God] is sovereign, the LORD never messes with human free will. God desires glad obedience, not forced compliance. God courts instead of compels.

Jesus says, in the gospel assigned for this coming Sunday, that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed or yeast that grows and changes things from the inside out. As we Pray every day, Worship every week, Read the Bible, Serve, Relate with others for spiritual growth and Give generously as God has given to us, and as we encourage others to do the same, all of our _____s will, bit by bit, be filled by the love and truth of God.

Tonight some of us are getting together to talk about one of the _____s. Will we allow God to gently work among us rather than forcing others to agree?


  1. During my time on this planet I have seen a great deal of evil. Sometimes the evil ones "get away with it", from our perspective. But there is no getting away with it in our relationship with Christ. We may be smart enough to keep secrets from our mom and dad, or from our husband or wife. Christ sees us for who we really are. So in the long run it is better to not have to many secrets.

    On the flip side Christ's compassion for us is endless. There are a great many christian conversion in our prisons and jails. And while they may or may not be sincere at the time, more often than not people fall away when they get out and meet the temptations of the outside world. But is it possible for a person who has done real evil to get into heaven? Can a person who has murdered his parents, or molested his own children, repent and be baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit? Christ sees us for who we truly are. His compassion and forgiveness is without end. At least as far as I can see.

    For this I am eternally grateful

    Tim Robbins

  2. Thanks, Tim. I thought your comment fit so well with what I posted yesterday (Jan. 12, 2009). I made a link there so people could see your comment more easily.

    Tim - I'm asking people to speak on Wednesdays during Lent on the question "What the Cross Means to Me." You could choose a 5 minute of 15 minute spot... Think about it!