The Pope made the news last Friday telling us that we must “find a new balance” over being “obsessed” with “small minded rules” concerning “abortion, gay marriage and contraception.” Some said he was creating a new policy that encouraged “mercy above rebuke.”
I like that last part because Jesus said He did not come to condemn the world but to save it – but can we talk. Sometimes I feel like everybody wants the church just to be nice and play along. Jesus did not die to make us nice but rather to make us His. I’m not sure if nice makes us attractive or if it just makes us look like everybody else. Too often it seems like the church has to apologize for even being related to Jesus and His mission.
I’m not sure where birth control fits into this conversation because I’m not Catholic. We have used birth control our entire marriage (almost 31 years) and we have four kids. My point is that if God wants you to have four kids you will have for kids regardless of what you try to do to prevent it.
There is no doubt Jesus put the beat down on the religious people of His day. He seemed more gracious to those that were living a homosexual lifestyle. That makes us ask who are the religious people of our day and where do they hang out?
It’s like there are no boundaries and the culture is telling us to get into the mainstream and accept everything and do not say anything. The other day someone told me they worked full time and went to college full time as well. I admired their drive until I asked if they were really working 40 hours a week and they said no, only 30 hours a week. Has 30 become the new 40? Can we say we work full-time but only work part-time? Am I making sense?
I saw a church sign the other day it said, “Some people are gay. Get over it. God.” I asked people what they thought about that – my favorite barista told me that sign was screwed up and that it was not truthful. He also said that we can’t hold non-believers to a Biblical standard therefore, let’s make them believers. I read somewhere that they will know us by our love. In that sense I want to agree with the Pope and lead the charge and tell the church we need to stop majoring in the minors.
I was at meeting the other day (again, it’s what pastors do) and they were discussing the difference between a “Bounded Set” versus a “Centered Set.” If we operate in a bounded set we ask, “Do you believe like I believe?” The centered set asks, “Do you care what I care about?” I struggle with that because while I am Obama’s favorite conservative I am more uptight than Sean Hannity and I want to work with only likeminded people who believe like me.
Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. So – can we still love everyone, condemn no one and point people to Jesus (which includes pointing out their failure)?
He asked me to ask you that. Have a super day!
Ken Ansell is the pastor of Community Life Church in Waxahachie.