We are not there yet.

Where to start?  My head is swimming with ideas.  I could write for a long time about these things—but these things also exhaust me. They are tiring, but they also eat at me, and I see them eating at lots of others…the whole church in fact.   So they are worth thinking about, in chunks.  In blog post like chunks.  But where to start….

I think I want to start by saying that WE’RE NOT THERE YET.   And for some reason, this is not obvious to many of us Christians.   Or it’s not okay to think that it’s not obvious.  (This though—is for the next post.)

We’re not there yet, meaning..the God’s Kingdom has not yet fully come.   Whatever your end times theology—heaven is not yet here.  So perfection has not yet arrived.  

What are the implications of the Kingdom of God not yet fully come?   It means the world, and yes, the church is still BROKEN.  It means:

  • Sin is still alive and well.
    And to some degree—we need to stop being surprised when people sin or when we sin!
  • Our relationships to God are still broken and forming.
    We do not follow God perfectly.  We do not hear from God perfectly.  We do not understand the Bible perfectly.  
    • We can get things wrong.  
      • We are prone to think we are God, that our ways are better than his ways.  
        (That’s why there are verses like Isaiah 55:8-9 to remind us that his thoughts are not our thoughts, his ways are higher than our ways.)  We think we know it all, we’ve seen it all.  We are human, and though human beings are #1 over all creatures on earth (we rule, yeah?  dominion?)  we extend our line of thinking and think this is universally true!   We are all prone to this—we always need to watch it.  
      • We are prone to make idols, to look to someone or something else other than God.  
        On the flip side, we know that we are only human.  We know that we can not control everything, and yet we want a little bit more confidence, a little bit more semblance of control.   We thus lean on things in our minds and hearts (and bodies sometimes) to make us feel better.  We comfort ourselves with our bank accounts, our degrees, our titles, our contacts, our networks, our families.   We lean in to our electronic devices, our status symbols.  Bob Dylan sings:  “But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed / You’re gonna have to serve somebody, / Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord / But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”   We are prone to fixate on things that we think will help us more than looking to God.   We are all prone to this—we always need to watch it.
  • Our relationships with each other are still broken.  
    Man-to-man, Woman-to-man, Father-to-son, Neighbor-to-neighbor, sometimes even with ourselves—-we still do not properly love one another.  We still do not properly treat one another as God calls us to.  We still do not see one another as God calls us to see one another.  
    • Is this not the reason for every dispute–large and small?   
    • And these seemingly little slights compound, and grow with more slights, more misunderstandings, more real injustices, more reactions.  They compound when we share them with others.  They compound over generations and generations.  So much so, that after so much time, these hurts, these slights become a part of us, become “accepted,”  and we forget why or how things came to be the way they came. 

In light of this—uh, we are not there yet.  

There is no post-racial whatever.  We are not past racism.  We are not past misunderstandings.  We are not past much.   

For the purposes of this blog.  

  • The church is not yet united.  We are yet to be a fully reconciled multi-ethnic community living in God’s shalom.  
      • Let’s get real:  Evangelicalism is notoriously fractious.  It’s not united either.  And there are many big problems that need to be solved BEFORE? we can even begin to address multi-ethnicity, multi-culturalism, multi-classism (I just made that last one up—is that a word?).  
        • [Problems:  distrust of academy, isolationism within America, our failure to do evangelism (church growth by increasing birth rates/adoption and taking other church’s members—isn’t really evangelism), our own lack of unity etc.]
  • The Asian American church—well, I don’t think it’s an entity yet.   It has not had the history of the African American church yet to develop it’s own culture, it’s own ideas.  It is still too new.  And compared to the Latino church—it encompasses far more languages than Spanish and Portuguese.  
  • Conflict, misunderstanding, unfair judgments—a severe lack of incarnation into the communities we don’t understand—all these are still alive and well.

We are not as far along as we think we are.  

Yes, we have Jesus—and he has the victory, but we are still living in between times.  Is it CS Lewis who gives that WW analogy: the victory has already been declared—but battles are still happening because the news has yet to reach all the troops.  

And yes—because we have Jesus, what’s real in Christ vs. what’s real in this world does not necessarily match…but I’m running ahead now…this is for my next post.

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