Monday, 15 February 2010

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Einstein)

TV highlight of the week apart from Nurse Jackie was a religious/moral 'question time' which airs on a Sunday morning. Yes I realise most of you reading this are either in church or listening to the Archers omnibus but just think what you might be missing!

To be honest it can be quite depressing. For example this week the programme asked the question 'Why should the Anglican church stay together?' Ummmmm - it soon degenerated into a full scale battle between evangelical fundamentalists and what seemed to be the rest of the world on the issue of same sex realtionships. Even women Bishops had to fight to get a hearing with this group of people. The  actual and vital question about unity within disagreement - which the world desparately needs to see modelled somewhere - was quickly dispsensed with as Reform types summarily consigned vast swathes of the population to hell whilst others, including a gay priest and even Anne Atkins, (not renowned for her liberal tendencies), sought to bring moderation and even Jesus somewhere into the melee. Ah well..... see how these..... etc etc  You'd think on National TV some people might even think first about how others might view them - and how they might view themselves when they get home!

Where am I going with this? Met up with a dear and respected friend during the week. This guy who is a pastor from the Baptist tradition is firmly eveangelical, a committed charismatic, a bit of a Biblical theologian and a great expository preacher. But he reminds me every time we meet that whatever 'label', tradition or ecclesiology we might be committed to - it all has to be within the wide and open spaces of the Love and Kingdom of God come in Jesus. 

He described a gay couple he had got to know and how for him it wasn't about judging them and seeking to change their lifestyle but asking 'what sort of church would we need to be to enable the love of God in Jesus to connect with people where they are - whatever their  lifestyle, sexual orientation, addictive patterns, materialistic and secular worldview'. I like to be with people who really believe and are passionate about the truth that it is God who forgives, transforms lives, heals, judges and restores - if any person is open to that happening.  Churches that leave God to work with whoever he chooses (even me) and in whatever way he chooses are communities that understand and live in Amazing Grace.

Churches - wide, open green spaces that allow people to discover and be surprised by God and embraced by Jesus rather than tarmac covered yards, bounded by high walls and supervised by well meaning but hard faced people blowing whistles and telling people, (in love of course) to stop and form an orderly queue all the time.

Maranatha - Come Lord Jesus.


  1. So true Malcolm. I didn't see that program on Sunday morning but it would have made me so angry if I had! Why don't people see that those who don't know Jesus will be drawn by his love, as was the samaritan woman at the well, not argued into the Kingdom.

    Your post today reminded me of another article I read a few years ago. I don't know if you have come accross it. Digging wells not building fences.

    Here is the link.

    I find it a really helpful analogy. We want to help people find the well of Jesus and then they will be drawn to Him rather than building fences to keep them in or out.

  2. Malcolm, I think the key words "enable the love of God in Jesus to connect with people where they are" is something that we seem to have stopped short of - we talk about salvation but seem to have forgotten that it is for relationship with God - and by connecting with Him we can be transformed, relationship not "my rules", out of relationship springs repentance because I want to change in the light of.... Keep going Les

  3. reminds me of Rob Bell's analogy of "bricks" vs "trampolines" in his book "Velvet Elvis"...we should surely invite all to jump with us and experience that Amazing Grace, not build solid inflexible walls of doctrine that keep those with doubts and questions firmly outside.

  4. Yes
    I did not see the programme either, but it sounds good to me to have a bit more width in our thinking