Category: core values


the statement for our church reads like this:

“a place where God is present, love is offered, help is received & friendship for the journey is found”

i’ve written about love being the highest value here before, check it out if you like.  recently though i’ve was thinking about “friendship for the journey’.

this one is of particular importance to me right now for a number of reasons.

one reason in particular has to do with how we treat one another on social media.  things we write  to a computer screen & tag someone in a post, many of us would never consider saying to a living breathing person standing in front of us.  we used to know that not everything we think should be said.  but with the accesability of modern things we seem to have forgotten that part of life.

one of the things that was said to me a few years ago at a church i serve was this; “we’re a kinder, gentler church now.”

i, naturally, asked her to unpack that for me.  she was remembering a time when the church had more of a requtation of relationally running over people & not exercising grace & the dignity of other people; and insistance on being right over getting it right.

so as a church it’s important to realize that God has placed friends in our path to walk with us along the way; and, as usual, we use biblical foundation as the building blocks for the stance.

1 Corinthians 15:33 

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Job 2:11

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.

Proverbs 18:24

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Colossians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

so know that when you are a part of what we’re doing here as a church, that friendship is one of the key coponents of life with the body of believers, centered on relationship with Christ.  it matters greatly how we treat one another, honoring the humanity that we share.  it’s not necessary to agree with everyone on every single thing.  in fact, i don’t even believe that’s healthy.  i make it a point to listen to & read people that i know i don’t agree with; that’s one way that learning happens.
but even beyond that, those that i don’t agree with & they stand at the opposit end of the spectrum i still am reminded that they are imago dei – image of God; and that matter much more than a diagreement about politics, race, the rich & poor and so on.
so know that if you choose to trust us, the church, with your friendship; know that we may not always agree.  but we will work so very hard to honor the humanity you hold while asking you to do the same.

 

Advertisements

shame

recently saw a TED talk with monica lewinski…yea that monica lewinski. very interesting piece on shame & our on-line culture.  here’s the link to that talk if you’re interested; it’s worth the watch [22.5 minutes of time].

as i was watching i was reminded of how much our world has changed & the way shaming plays such a huge role in our culture; not american culture but human culture.

in today’s world if you & i do something wrong, even at a low level of “no harm, no foul” kind of wrong; chances are someone is going to hear about it.  the post, tweet, pic, ‘gram can happen in an instant & the world can know right now.  this can create an angst in us, especially if we’ve been burned by the social media machine before.  we will be tempted to live ordinary, uninteresting lives; unwilling to stretch & try new things.  fearing that someone will find out if/when i fail & land on my face.  caveat – this can create a different kind of response; with a desire to be famous for the sake of fame alone…but that’s a conversation for another time.

the way we use the inter-webs is an interesting one.  we can learn almost anything we could even think of, and learn of some things that we did not even know existed.  i recently needed to change the brakes on my vw & wanted to make sure it was within my abilities; and that bar is pretty low.  turns out, there are a number of videos to walk me though the process with lots of helpful commentary.  but one thing that continues to happen is we’re all to willing to use it as a way of propping ourselves up as the expense of others.  shaming someone else because of the way they live, vote, dress, whom they love seems to be be a very common thing right now.

and this really is the hing-point of this writing…IDENTITY

how we identify ourselves is key to weather or not we see the thoughts & opinions of others completely guide our lives.  the immediate response to that statement is, “well, i never let anyone’s opinion completely guide & rule my life.”  but to suggest that it doesn’t have influence & impact simply isn’t true; we care what others think of us.

there are a number of different conversations we could have at this point, but the thing that struck me as i watched monica lewinski is that conversations are so much more important than judgements.  as a follower of Christ my first job is that of love.  love always leads to conversations; and that’s what i’m trying to choose.

this, in fact is the path that Jesus chooses.  john 4 is a great example of this “love first, conversation matters” approach to life.  check that out if you’re not familiar & be aware of the social tension that exists in with that situation.

love first – choose conversation…

there are some core values we’re trying to establish lately:

the first one we’ve been talking about a lot recently in teaching times & that’s the fact that love is the highest value.  i’ve written about this before & you can find it through this link.

another part of this value system is that God is present.

i know, that’s not exactly ground breaking info. for a church, that we would want God to be present in what we’re doing.  but if you hang with this for a minute there might be something good.

in genesis 28:16 jacob, waking from a dream where God is speaking to him, he says; “God was here & i didn’t know it.”  now that’s significant, because he has this encounter with God & then realizes that God was present.

a little theology:  God is everywhere all the time.  that’s what we know as omnipresence – everywhere at all times.  so everywhere we God is there, because that’s His nature…to be there – wherever there is.

so when we say, as a church, that “God is present” [that’s one of our core values] we aren’t claiming that God is at our church & you’ll not find Him at the church down the street.  not at all.  the truth is about the church down the street; i know those men & women leading those churches, & i like them.  they’re doing great things in the name of God & wanting more, than anything, to bring glory to Him.

the thing that we’re trying to acknowledge is that not only is God here – & everywhere – but we’re going to do our best to make sure that we see Him.  because if it was possible for one of the “hero’s of the faith”, jacob, to be in a place where God was present & he missed it, didn’t realize that God was there; if it’s possible that God was missed then & there, it’s possible that we could miss Him too, here & now.

so when we gather as a church; & we sing, pray, love one another, open His word, share the struggles of life, celebrate, and on the list goes…

when we do these things we’re going to pursue the presence of God above all other things.  and in the pursuit of Him & His presence mighty things will happen.

that, i think is key:  as we pursue Him, we find Him.