The Identity Crisis in American Christianity

In the last few months I am seeing a disturbing trend emerge in the Church in the USA: We are starting to resemble and talk like a very polarized two-party system. Like Republicans and Democrats.

And I want to declare, that I will not participate in it.

I will not bait other Christians into arguments in which I am not open to learning.

I will not imagine that the way I read and understand the Bible is 100% right.

I will not forget who the enemy is.

There was recently a large scale flip out on Twitter by two influential leaders of the two different parties of American Christianity. (The two parties as I see them? Holiness vs Charity. That is really simplified, but it is the basis.) One leader tweeted something really inflammatory and the other leader came unglued. I mean f-bomb dropping, calling the guy a racist unglued. It wasn’t pretty. But the lines were drawn and people started picking whose side they were on. But here’s the thing:

When it’s all over, all Jesus cares about is if you were on his side.

He’s not going to ask about the great  twitter debate of January 2013. Or even about how you approached the gun control issue. He is going to care whether you turned to the cross, gave your weakness and sin to God there, and followed Jesus.

So, what do we do? I have a few thoughts.
1. Quit making our position into God’s position. It may allow you to enter into some conversations with a lot more humility. For example: A deeply held belief of mine is that Jesus teaches us the way of non-violence and peace. Many Christians, including most of my friends from the 1st 30 years of my life, don’t agree with me. So I enter those conversations remembering that my mind has changed during my life, so at some point, in some way, I have been or am wrong. That’s humbling.
2. Quit trying to win Christians to your part of the body of Christ. If you and your church are a hand, quit trying to convince the knees to become hands. The church will be worse off if you succeed. We need knees AND hands. They do different things!
3. Find someone that doesn’t know Jesus and introduce them to each other. Make this something you do regularly. Other things will seem less important to argue if you are busy celebrating new life in Jesus.
4. Find places and ways to have open, honest, loving conversations about your differences.
5. Realize who the fight is actually against. It’s not other Christians. It’s not the government. It’s not the homophobes or the gay agenda pushers. It’s not the NRA or Anti-gun lobbyists. It’s not Al-Qaeda. It’s not our national debt. Remember what the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,<sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> but against the rulers, against the authorities,<sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”>against the powers<sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Take the fight against Satan and the powers. Quit fighting with other people who are trying to follow Jesus.


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