For years, I have thought that I might understand something about life, only to learn that there is always something that I do not understand. Philip Yancey opened up some thoughts in my mind as I finished What’s So Amazing About Grace. At times I have thought that I am right, and I have later learned that I was not the only one that was right, as a matter of fact, I was wrong. It is so humorous looking back on my past mistakes, and sobering to learn of ones today. You may be wondering what has made me reflect in such a manner. Well, let’s begin this sumerized journey.
I have to say that I have been on a pendulum when comes to liberal and conservative. It doesn’t really matter what issue. It could be religion, politics, economics, ecology, etc, I just cannot seem to make up my mind. In some things I have been a mix. I end up looking conservative, but I attack conservatives at the same time. The same goes for the liberal side. I must say that I have been surprised though at the people I disagree with. I have so many opinions the I wish to be true, yet so does everyone else. Someone once told me that everyone’s opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one, and they all stink. It was funny, I admit. The guy was obviously in a joking mood as well. But in the reality that this faith I am in tries to make, we all have equal opportunity to be right. I have come to know that I am very wrong sometimes, whether it be in theology, politics, or lifestyle preferences. I know that I am prone to mistakes. But my issue was that I thought everyone else’s opinions stank, and that mine were the sweet rose bushes everyone needed. In recent times, the ones I have been up against have been the older ones of our faith. I have thought that their preferences to traditional style and music have held back the church, and although I still think we should pay attention to the progressive movements, I know that I have missed the point in making this a primary goal. I have thought that their theological understandings are what have caused the pain in the world. I have thought that they hate the young and unsaved. My disagreements had become a grievance in my own eyes.
I must first say that those who were like me in saying that we should fight tooth and nail for progressive worship services as the primary ministry of the church, YOU ARE WRONG!!! I have to say that you are becoming exactly what you have been against the whole time. Yes, I agree that there are those who are stuck in there ways. They are militant in their understanding that how they experience God is how everyone should experience God. But how many of us younger folks are acting the same way by being militant in the same understanding. Maybe we seek to let everyone experience God in their way and show some patience with them. And to move things closer to God’s will, should we experience God more in being fed in a worship service, or in the fields of ministry. The way I see it, ministry fills a true need, and most needs are usually not met in a worship service. We may feel better about ourselves, and we might even talk about the need to fill a need, but most needs that are of an urgent matter are met in the soup kitchens and in the streets 6 days a week while a church service usually fills a small portion that would not make one day a week. So open your own hearts in order to lead the people of God in opening theirs.
And that is one way I have been wrong. Progressive worship isn’t the realization of God’s Kingdom, and neither is traditional worship. God’s Kingdom is something more. When we understand that, we begin to unite and learn from each other. How many of you pastors plan service projects for people who are in TRUE need. Or do you plan for more fund raisers and outings (this goes for youth pastors as well). I understand your need to bring in the numbers, but believe me, long term numbers from being served far outweigh the short term numbers from being amuzed and entertained. So open your hearts to matters the truly make a difference and learn that the traditional worshippers have just as much to say as the contemporary worshippers.
As far as theology, I have my own journey that I am traveling. I say certain things that many disagree with and I admit, I might be wrong, that’s why I say do not listen to me blindly, as many of you do, thank God. But I have been trying to teach myself to not listen to myself blindly, a lesson we must all learn. Just because I am on a journey to the place God wants me to be does not mean I never get lost. I can mishear God sometimes. We all can. We have this funny tendency to attach experience to everything. The tragedy is that we make our understanding of it all absolute. Maybe we are wrong to do so. Let’s say for expample the judgement of God in the end times (which I am changing my views on everyday). I tend to stick to the understanding of scripture that we will be flabbergasted at who enters heaven. People usually take that to mean that the people who say they love God might be kept from God’s kingdom, but I tend to wonder and throw out the idea that maybe it could include people who live in light of the law of the heart and yet do not exist in our faith. But maybe I am wrong. It is my understanding of the story Jesus told of the sheep and the goats being separated on the day of Judgement. Read and decide it for yourself, and I am sure we will be in different ballparks in the end. I must say that people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would strongly disagree with me. But I look at Pat Robertson’s credentials as a humanitarian and realize that he has done more with his resources for the needy than I have. As far as Jerry Falwell is concerned, well read about his later views that even though he disagrees with homosexual lifestyle, he wants to give them rights as well.
Funny things happen when you open up for being taught. Many people have many things to say, and sometimes, maybe they are right. Just focus on what is truth and everything else tends not to matter anymore. So to all the liberals, conservatives, evangelicals, fundamentals, traditionalists, and conservatives that I have outright bashed and covertly teased, I am sorry. We have much to teach each other. I hope we all are willing to learn.