A few days ago, as I was doing my customary little sweep, something caught my eye. I had nearly exhausted all of my news-reading options when I happened upon a curious opinion piece. Originally published in The Huffington Post, the title sort of lunged and growled at me, like a dog looking for a fight. The bold words (in more than just font) read “Christianity Needs a Progressive Revolution”. Suddenly this author had all of my attention plus a little of my defensiveness. If I was a yoga girl (and way, way, WAY more limber) I might have been inwardly chanting, “Breathe in objectivity, breathe out judgment”. So, with a huge multifaceted breath of curiosity, I made an intention to keep an open mind, all the time wondering, “What does he mean by progressive???”
Just a few words in, and already I was swimming through deep waters with the author declaring that millennials are looking for churches that actually “live the gospel message, not just preach it”. I drifted off for a second, imagining our whole world, with its churches full of impactful people who calculate each of their words and movements in light of the love of Jesus. I’d barely begun that daydream when I was thrown in even deeper as the author explained the true intent of his words. By living the gospel message he was speaking about engaging in political and social issues, through the lens of the gospel. What a valuable and reasonable call to action. It's when we insert our faith into a tidy little box and section it off from the other portions of life that we give place to hypocrisy. Faith should inform all of life. But the further I read the more infuriated I felt. I despised the lack of concern this writer exhibited for living human babies, forcefully removed from their mother’s bodies and killed (abortion), while showing great interest and passion for preserving our planet for the next generation. How could he miss the massive contradiction in choosing the planet for the next generation while condoning the killing of this planet's heirs? How could he favor the one cause while rejecting the other? And furthermore, how could he not see that God’s heart is first for humans? God sent Jesus to save ALL people…that’s what the gospel is all about!
It was likely around that portion of the article that I stopped reading and irately texted Adam a link saying, “You have to read this shockingly shitty article” (yes, I do swear sometimes...but ONLY when it's an emergency or when I'm quoting a movie where the actors speak with accents, as my mother-in-"love" has confirmed is completely acceptable). But I have to confess, the thing wouldn’t leave me alone! It just kept jumping back into my thoughts. I kept wondering…what is it about these Christians (a mere handful of years younger than me), that this author asserts, view society and their faith so differently than I do; so abstractly. With my first read through, all I saw was that the author had replaced some of the most valuable causes for that of others. Maybe he had…but after a second and third read, I realized that I’d completely missed his heart.
What he’s truly craving is for Christians to organize a powerful love movement where congregants and visitors don’t just come and listen and then walk away unchanged, where churches don’t tip-toe awkwardly around the issues of the day, but boldly step right in the middle of the thing. He’s aching for a place where this love would actually change people and compel and propel them into actively engaging in social issues for the purpose of God’s love and justice; to be the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves (the unborn, the poor, the rejected and…maybe even the planet). He’s tired of churches so passionless that there’s literally “sitting-room only”, it would never be packed out.
I’m in love with this imaginary church already! But I think we’re forgetting something, just because a bunch of people come together, claiming to be Christian doesn’t mean they all speak for God. Repentance, revival and revolution are huge, massive results of a heap of little choices made in a person’s heart. These things don’t work on a corporate level unless each individual has come to their own personal (internal) crossroads of sorts, and made their own life-altering decision. I just had the perfect memory of my dad singing that old 70’s folksy-Christian song, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going”. The words are true. Passion is contagious and passion for a cause is even more so. But fires need fuel or else they just burn out. Even the brightest fires without fuel will just fade away. It’s the decisions made at the crossroads of our lives that cement our convictions and fuel the fire within us…or determine whether we’ll just burn out.
We are each responsible for our piece of the movement, and at times it may feel like a lonely road. Is it irritating that we don’t all automatically unite for the same cause?? Yes!! But, in the inspired words of Elvis, maybe what we really need is “a little less conversation and a little more action”. I’m confident that if we were able to collect a mass of people, whose hearts had all been transformed; so convinced of the love of God that it permanently altered them and caused them to move as one to confront injustice in the world, there would no longer be “sitting-room only!”