Where Else?

Where Else?

Too many people are becoming disillusioned with what they perceive Christianity to be and are choosing to pursue their own brand of Christianity or are abandoning their faith all together.  Whether they are finding the claims of Christianity not credible enough for today or whether they believe that Christianity is not addressing the real needs of the culture, they are abandoning the Word of God as the final authority in their lives.  Many are picking and choosing what they like in the Scriptures and arguing away all the rest.  They have legit concerns and hard questions that need real answers.  They have, most of the time, fair criticism towards the church and how we have been living out our faith.  The problems that will arise, as they take their own journey, will be when they take their scrutiny and criticism and turn it inward.  They will see that they have simply raised other questions, that they have created a Jesus of their own liking, and for those who have walked away from the faith, they will realize that, in truth, they have simply exchanged faith in God to faith in themselves.
There have always been issues with who the church is and what the Word of God teaches.  We fall short of the truths that we say we believe. The problem is with us, not the Word of God.  God’s word is perfect and complete and provides the only real answers to those ills of society that we are trying to solve.  Again, the problem is not with the answers that the Bible provides, it is with our understanding and practice of those answers.  When we decide that we will be the arbitrator of truth, when we decide what we think is best, then we set ourselves up for failures that we, in our limited understanding, never see coming. God saw them and provided us with direction so that we could avoid those failures.  Do not throw out the wisdom of our Creator due to the failures of men.  Do not reduce the Word of God down to truths that fit your limited ways of thinking.
There are many issues that need addressing today.  One little blog will not solve them all, it won’t even solve one.  But let me try to speak my heart to one big issue.  There is the huge issue with sexual identity and gender that is permeating our culture and is in the Church. What I am finding, as I speak with younger people who are becoming dissatisfied with the Church’s teaching, is that these issues are more real to them.  While I may know a few people who are dealing with these issues, they are living with all of their peers who have new and evolved ideas about these issues. They know and love too many folks who cannot understand how anyone can be against someone living their own truth.  This raises huge questions about how to communicate love and truth.  They cannot sit apart from the issue, like many in the church can, and shoot arrows from a distance.  They live in the trenches where they have to treat those who have been wounded by those arrows.  So they begin to question, not the means of communication, but the question itself. Does the Bible truly say it is sin?  If it does, then is that outdated wisdom given to cultures that existed long ago?  Does the Bible really speak to today?  The issue then becomes if the church is willing to faithfully, patiently, and lovingly provide answers to those questions?  Is the church willing to listen?  Can we all then learn together how to effectively communicate those answers found in Scriptures?  Are we willing to listen and accept what is found or will we insist on creating our own answers?  Do we trust the Bible?
It is a hard task to stand for the truth.  It is an even harder task to do so with great compassion and patience.  It is impossible to isolate ourselves from the difficult questions.  These issues come at us so quickly that it take us time to formulate loving, truthful answers.  Unfortunately, while we develop those answers, we often resort to quick, less than loving answers.  Those answers, often, hurt many.  God’s Word is sufficient, truth filled, and compassionate.  May all of us love it enough to work together to determine what God has really said and then work hard to understand how to lovingly communicate that with others.  May we also stop writing our own Bible and creating our own Jesus.  That will help no one for eternity.

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