I appreciate this article by Rachel Evans. I believe God has raised her up to speak to the church in these days. She addresses the recent fiasco with World Vision that I mentioned last week in a Facebook post (see March 27).
Along with Rachel, I'm really concerned about the mean-spirited portion of the evangelical church. I know they are only a portion, but because they often speak so loudly, people tend to see them as THE CHURCH.
Dialogue and Dignity
The church today needs to learn to promote dialogue over dogma...or more simply, relationship over rules. That doesn't mean we abandon our beliefs but it means we prize the dignity of people right behind the worship of God. We may not agree with what others think or how they live, but as God's creation, they have inherit dignity/value that we must honor if we are to honor God.
Let's Listen More, Speak Less
Whenever there is controversy it tells me we all need to listen more and speak less. Christians are too quick to take a stand on an issue they haven't fully thought through. But feeling the need to defend God and the Bible, they "take a stand," often polarizing the discussion into a no-win scenario. We need to find a third way to approach whatever the problem is because clearly what we are doing isn't working.
Respect Means Safe
We've worked hard through the years to make Cedarbrook Church a safe place to disagree and ask questions about faith. I don't expect everyone to agree with us but I always want people to walk away feeling respected and heard. I'm just writing to reaffirm my commitment to this and let people know that as we help Jamie Staples start a church in Eau Claire, we will work to create the same environment there.
As Rachel says, there is a new generation of believers and they won't tolerate the mean spiritedness. They will choose no church over a mean church. Here's to a church that not only preaches salvation by grace but living with grace for others.