It’s been an interesting few days since the end of The Episcopal Church’s General Convention. Media coverage of Convention has sparked almost as much online discussion as Convention itself. As I’ve watched the conversation, one thing has become clear to me: right now, words are necessary to preach the gospel.
For a long time, I loved this quotation from St. Francis of Assisi because it reassured me that I could preach the gospel with my life. Growing up non-Christian in the 1980′s, I was completely turned off by Jerry Falwell. His gospel seemed to be that unless I believed exactly as he did, I was condemned to hell for eternity. If he represented Christianity, I wasn’t interested. Even after I became a Christian, I hesitated to talk about Jesus. Ironically, I feared that talking about Jesus would turn people off from wanting to follow him. After all, that’s what happened for me.
I was wrong. Living for Jesus without talking about him compromised my integrity. It was intellectually and spiritually lazy. I may be going out on a limb, but I believe a generation of mainline Christians who tried to live for Jesus without talking about him led to the epidemic of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism that passes for Christianity in most of our churches. As a Christian educator, I believe I am part of that problem, and it is enormous.
The fact of the matter is, this is not the gospel:
It is somewhat truthful theological statement: no matter what, God seeks us and desires relationship with us. But just as Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, so also did Jesus never utter the words “God loves you.” On the contrary: when Jesus sent out the apostles, the message they carried was “The kingdom of heaven is near…” ”change your lives!” (Matthew 10:7; Mark 6:12)
There are those who say that the Episcopal Church has lost the gospel. I’ve even seen comments on blogs that state the Episcopal Church is now the rough equivalent to the Unitarian Universalism, just with fancier clothing. (That’s completely untrue, but it’s a matter for another post.) In this moment, I believe I need to find the words to talk about Jesus. I need to find a way to tell people what I believe and why, without shoving my beliefs down their throat. I need to study the Bible, pray, and understand my religion ever better. I’m not alone in this quest. The Acts 8 Moment in the Episcopal Church is seeking exactly this type of renewal. Twitter conversation about Mainline Summer is indicating that this is an ecumenical movement.
Fortunately, I knew when I was baptized that this would be the journey of a lifetime.
Good to meet you! I’m Nurya…
Welcome!Here, a mother and priest chronicles her attempts at practicing resurrection. This sometimes involves small children and organizations known as "church." Other times it just means telling the truth. Occasionally chickens are mentioned. Click "About" for more...
Praying Day by Day
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