Labels…The “new emerging progressive church.”

One of the things that we want to do here at Down the Line is also become a place for people to express ideas and beliefs as they relate to the scope of everything we hope in as believers in Christ. It is also a place for people who might want to follow Christ, or those who did at one point, etc. We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and shades and none of us know anything that is 100% certain. Scripture even tells us that we “see through a glass dimly.” We all get on facebook and try to express our point of view only to be shot down or taken to task by some other know it all out there in digi land who is typing away at the same time they Google what they believe in. Seriously… it doesn’t even make sense anymore.

Why has Christianity, and Jesus, been distilled down to political slogans? C.S. Lewis said, “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ… God became Man for no other purpose.” So when a national tragedy, or really an international tragedy, like the Newtown shooting happens, how is it that it becomes a political topic for gun control or no gun control? Does it even matter that 20 children lost their innocent lives? I’m not saying that people can’t comment on what they believe, but what we are left with is a pissing contest between gun owners and gun controllers. Does Jesus’ heart break for 20 children who are dead, or does he bleed because of a possible assault weapon purchasing ban? Then to add insult to injury, these self appointed loudmouths like Dobson decide that Newtown happens because we took prayer out of school, or because gay citizens are allowed to marry…we should be ashamed to let what happened be politicized by a party, and we should all run James Dobson and his ilk out of town for even opening their mouths and pretending to speak for the rest of us. How do blaming gay people draw anyone unto the Father? It doesn’t and it never will. Mike Huckabee ought to be chased out of his TV studios and run out of town for blaming gay people…and while we’re at it, we should also let Franklin Graham know that changing his list of ‘cults’ to exclude Mormonism isn’t okay just because he wanted to elect Mitt Romney. I’m not saying Mormonism is a cult at all, I’m saying speaking out of both sides of your mouth is what everyone else on planet earth calls ‘lying’. Why are Christians lying for political gain? It sure is a quick about face to get votes, they sure don’t bend on any social issues to get votes, nope, and those issues are set in stone. How does Graham so easily dismiss his religious convictions? Let’s not even get started on how he is destroying a great and honest legacy left by his father, or how his elderly father who is not in control of his facilities suddenly supports Romney. When Billy Graham was a younger man, I remember what he said about the danger of mixing politics and religion, and he said he would never again do that after the disaster that happened with Nixon.

I guess my point is really that what we do in the public square is what we represent Christ and his message to be. I’m pretty sure from what Scripture tells us that politics were not even a consideration to Jesus…values and ethics and morality were, but just because those things are claimed in politics doesn’t really mean anything. When politicians draw lines in the sand that can’t be crossed, or circles that people have to stand in, of course we feel our rights are violated and we shouldn’t have to abide by these laws…whatever, do what your heart leads you to do, but don’t claim it to be Christ’s morality meter. Christ doesn’t care about your ‘rights’, the only ‘right’ He ever gave anyone was the ‘right’ to choose.

Are issues important? Of course they are, don’t misinterpret what I am saying. I’m just saying that Christ didn’t bestow upon you the ‘right’ to own a gun, the ‘right’ to marry or prevent someone else from marrying, or the ‘right’ to choose for someone else. I will never trust a bunch of rich old white guys in Congress, who do little more than legislate morality and laws for the benefit of themselves, their friends and their wallets. It reminds me of the phrase, “Something’s wrong here, something’s radically wrong here.”

The ‘Church’ in America has become a lost voice because those that make up the church have isolated themselves into a corner that accepts only what they believe to be true, and only what they understand and are comfortable with. Just because you don’t believe in abortion, homosexuality, gun control, removing the Ten Commandments from the public square, taking prayer out of school, etc., it doesn’t mean that you are right or that you understand the political and/or religious implications of it all. When you shake your fist and block someone from having access to safe and legal abortion services, you have trampled on their right to choose, their legal right to healthcare and you have screamed the name of Jesus at them and quite possibly turned them away from ever wanting to understand Him. Call it murder if you want, that is your conviction, and should they have to believe what you believe? If the roles were reversed, would you want to have to adhere to someone else’s religious and/or political convictions? Of course not, so why do you want the rest of the world to live by yours? Because God’s laws are holy, right and pure? Great, which laws are holy, right and pure and by whose definition will we decide that? We should all focus on ourselves, get our personal houses in order, and once we do that, then keep your personal house clean. God is bigger than us and our weak and finite understanding; He can save the world without our help. God can change the heart of man, not a bunch of screaming whining Christians thinking they are God’s morality stick to beat over the values of every other person on planet earth.

The last thing that really is difficult for me to understand is that Christians not only demand the obedience of non-believers, they demand the obedience of Christian brothers and sisters as well. They demand that we live by their values as they understand them, and the hideous thing is that those who are in a different place get labeled as heretics, we get called the “new emerging progressive church” as though they are referencing some evil cancerous entity. I have no problem aligning myself with believers who believe that Love is still the greatest commandment. The “new emerging progressive church” looks at grace before law, they look at love instead of fear, but they are labeled as heretics. I have always found labels to be silly and much too broad and ambiguous, but if its labels people want then let them have them. I am quite happy to align myself with the emergent progressive church, and if that means you label me a heretic, then so be it…I feel pretty good about it.

About Steve Ruff

Music is what moves, motivates and inspires me.
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One Response to Labels…The “new emerging progressive church.”

  1. Collin Mc. says:

    Good post!

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