I’m really excited that yesterday’s Catch received so many strong, positive comments. That does my heart good and encourages my soul that we are on the right track, and some of you are already picking up the mantel of grace turned outward in the marketplace and representing a different view of Christianity, culturally, than the one so often shown and touted by the media.
Notice that important word “culturally.” I have to point that out because I need to make sure you don’t miss it. We are not talking about a different Christianity — the gospel will always be the same — we are talking about how that Christianity has worked its way into the prevailing culture. What has Christianity become culturally? A right wing, politically pushy, one-sided, issue-oriented coalition, majoring on a few social issues not even mentioned by Jesus, and acting like everyone who doesn’t agree is its enemy? Well at least that’s the one getting all the attention.
Meanwhile, good things are happening, we just rarely hear about them because the more volatile news is what gets noticed first. If you have Christian leaders cooperating with leaders of other religions for mutual understanding and to get things done in the community versus Christians and everyone who disagrees with them, with bullhorns and placards, screaming at each other on the street, which scenario is going to get reported?
So you have to come to the Catch to hear stories like this next one. My good friend and former roommate in college, Wayne Bridegroom, is an evangelical pastor in Modesto, California, and he writes:
Here in Modesto, the Jewish Rabbi, Muslim Immam, three evangelical clergy and three Catholic clergy, a liberal Protestant, several Mormons, Hindus, Bhuddists and Seventh Day Adventists and the host pastor of an ELCA Lutheran Church gather monthly to listen with a view to understand one another. Right now we are working through our doctrines and practices about marriage/weddings. Monthly we also choose a controversial matter to discuss. Everyone’s understanding of Jesus, salvation, etc. has been respectfully expressed and heard. Last week we talked about the intersection of our faith traditions and culture.
Now did you know that? Probably not, unless you live in Modesto, but even then … I told Wayne that delegates from some of the big cities need to go to Modesto to see how they do this. More importantly, you and I can learn from this example and look and see what part of this we can incorporate into our roles in the marketplace and in our local neighborhoods.
Spread the word. Pass around these Catches to all your friends. We need a cultural revolution for Christians that will shed light on the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward. Now is the time.