“Love, done right, in the style of Jesus, is hard because it takes you outside your comfort zone – culturally, religiously and socially… It’s Jesus not choosing the comfortable, affirming life of an echo chamber built by other lower-middle-class carpenters from Bethlehem who could resonate with all his experiences and opinions, nor hanging out with religious leaders civilly debating the theological issues of the day – it was thrusting himself out into the world where he shouldn’t have fit in, didn’t belong and didn’t share their experiences or paradigm.
It’s choosing to be with people where the conversation doesn’t flow naturally, where there are cultural barriers to overcome, where you don’t have the shared experiences and perspectives on life that make relationships easy. It’s choosing to persist when it’s hard, tiring, confusing and when what you’re seeing and hearing doesn’t fit nicely into the paradigm you started with. It’s allowing that to shape or even blow apart the way you once saw the world.
This is love and this is what is supposed to set us apart. It is not the path of least resistance, as Jesus found out.
Love is always harder than segregation. Inclusion is always harder than safe distance – because it challenges the way you’ve made sense of the world.”
Dying to ourselves and rising to life in Christ is more than just a theological statement, dying and rising is part of a rhythm of life as Christians…How prepared are we to set aside our position, our pride or our prejudices so that other people may flourish?’
“Church shopping is great and everyone who takes seriously the call to follow Christ should do it. I think critiquing the church you’re in is important and working to improve our community and how we serve one another is important.
But when it comes to church shopping, or analysing our own church and its practices, we ask the wrong questions.
The primary question is not “will this church meet my needs” or “is this church meeting my needs?”
It should be
“am I willing to give myself to the cause for which this church exists?”
The beauty of God’s salvation isn’t found in the individual but rather it is the divine community reestablishing a human community with a new way of living and a renewed relationship with God which is founded on his love, this is what Jesus calls his church.
“We have caught the vision of Jesus for the world as it could be – and as it one day will be – and so we are activists motivated not only by religious fervour or an ideology of justice – but by love and it is this love that makes measurable transformation something we yearn for. We don’t want to be right – to have good ideas, to be able to talk good justice smack or even to stand for the good things in solidarity with people who are copping it from society. We want to be a part of seeing the renewal of all things increase moment by moment, person by person, community by community. We want to be part of more than learning why justice is a gospel thing – we want to be a part of seeing the peace, justice, grace and welcome of Jesus become a lived experience of more people. “
When you are an example of the way the world could be – generous, selfless, forgiving, welcoming, compassionate – everything around you begins to become better too. You widen the crack and let in more light, the darkness begins to retreat and you bring hope to people who were on the path to giving up. You begin to show people that the future of this world is not death, destruction and violence – but healing, renewal and love.
“Jesus’ life was a picture of the way the world could be – it was absent greed, bereft of the desire for status or control over others. He included rather than excluded, he raised people up instead of trying to raise himself up, he risked his reputation, profile and personal safety for the sake of showing love and acceptance to people, he healed, loved, taught this new way of being, he neglected to personally profit from his growing profile – he was not only talking about the way the world could be a better place he was calling it into being by living as a tangible example of it. Jesus not only complained about the greed, corruption and brokenness of the system, updating his Facebook status in disgust at our broken world, he was a living protest against the system by publicly demonstrating how things could be different.”