This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, February 18, 2022
This week I’ve been thinking a bit about the latest blog release from an author I am tempted to contact. It would be sort of a letter to the editor, maybe, in a way that avoids the minefield of online comments. I don’t follow this author and blogger directly, but occasionally receive links to his uploads through a compilation email from a resource I do follow. Still with me?
In this latest piece the writer argues, in characteristically straight-forward fashion, that there are at least ten things Christians are more hyped about than Jesus. It is often sarcastic, and borderline scathing. He’s clearly fed up with hypocrisy, and no wonder. It’s also important to know that he observes and writes from his post-Evangelical-American experience, and so the Christians he refers to typically fall in that context; a context he now rejects and struggles with, quite publicly. His insights are crucial. However, in this latest edition, full of observations I think are important and too often quieted, he spends a great deal of time in the us/them opposition. I think I understand where it originates, in the sense of wanting to limit association with harmful views, but there is also a place where that demarcation draws such firm lines in the theological sand that there seems little room left for compassion, let alone the possibility of peace.
All this reading and thinking comes in the same week we are asked to consider Jesus’ teaching on enemies. We’re focused on Luke’s edition these days, but the similarities persist across the Gospels. When it comes to Jesus’ understanding of enemies – how to treat them, how to love them, how to live alongside them – it all begins and ends with dropping “them” from our vocabulary. In characteristically straight-forward fashion, Jesus holds boundaries even as he challenges the walls we try to build. He calls us on our oversights, our convenient memory lapses for our own inevitable missteps along the way. He brings us to a place of brave humility, and calls everyone to a life of unrestrained love.
All of that and more has, I’m sure, been percolating in the head and heart of our guest preacher this Sunday. I can’t give any hints as to what direction she’ll take, but I can guess confidently at this: the Scripture she will talk through by exegesis (fancy word for interpretation) is the story of a long-ago people who are still very much beside us. They are us; we are them. We are all trying to figure out this business of being Christian, to be hyped about the right things in the right ways. Thank God for holy patience, that stays with us through it all. Thank you, God, for holy Love, that inspires us to follow, all together.
With love to you all,
“If you want to be extraordinary—love your enemies! Do good without restraint!”
(Luke 6: 35, The Voice)