ON THE JOURNEY

MICHAEL DUVAL, LEAD PASTOR

I want to share with you part of Carey Nieuwhof’s blog post:  After the US Election:  3 Things the Culture Needs Right Now That the Church Can Give.

 

“When you find yourself in a situation where there are so many things you don’t know, it’s good to anchor yourself in a few things you do know.

 

1.  A Blaming Culture Needs a Confessing Church

 

I would rather assign blame than assume responsibility.  And I also know there’s zero progress when that happens. 

 

Confession bridges the gap between blame and responsibility.  If the church got better at confessing and not blaming, we’d have a better church.

 

What can you confess today?  Who have you hurt?  Who do you hate?  Have you mistreated anyone?

 

You’re worried about your kids watching politicians and mimicking them.  Your kids are watching you more closely than they’re watching any politician.  So, take your personal sins seriously.

 

Confess them.  Repent.  Change.  You’ll never address what you don’t confess.

 

Not sure how to do that or resist the urge to post something designed to undermine someone who thinks differently than you do?  Process privately.  Help publicly.

 

Processing privately can be as simple as praying about it and waiting 24 hours before you do a thing.  Often, that’s enough.  Sometimes, you’ll need to talk to a friend.  Other times, you may need to go see a counselor.

 

The gravitational pull is toward hate, not health.  Healthy doesn’t happen on its own.

 

When the church starts to confess more and accuse less, we’ll make more progress.

 

2. A Divided Nation Needs a United Church

 

One of Jesus’ most important prayers was for unity.  The early church was marked (in its best moments) by a completely counter-cultural unity.

 

If your church plays the political game, you’ve already alienated half the people you’re trying to reach.  You’re alienating entire generations looking for an alternative.  

 

David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyon’s book UnChristian both explained and predicted a world in which younger generations would reject Christianity based on, among other things, our closed-mindedness and division.

 

We’re living in that reality now.  The oldest Millennials are turning 40 and fewer than ever are showing interest in turning to the church.

 

Unity would be an exceptional show of strength to a divided nation.  Cave to the deepening divisions and partisanship that are bound to come, and the church will lose more ground more quickly than ever.

 

Become a unifying force around an alternative mission (the Kingdom of God) and the culture may come running.

 

3. An Exhausted Culture Needs an Alternative to Itself, Not an Echo of Itself

 

You’re probably exhausted by the division, tribalization and anger that characterizes culture today.  It’s pretty clear that the culture is tired of itself too, but it doesn’t quite know how to escape.  That’s where the church can help.  That’s the perfect opportunity for the church to simply be the church.

 

Authentic, grace-filled, hope-bearing, truthful people are what our friends and neighbors need.  A generation tired of hate, yet caught in its grip, will only be released from it if there’s a clear alternative.  Hope counters hate better than hate counters hate.  And hope is what the church, at its best, offers.

 

Not hope in a candidate.  Not hope in a political party.  Hope in Christ, someone in the world who also transcends the world.

 

If you echo the culture, you get more of the culture.  How do you know whether you’ve given in to merely echoing the culture?  If God has all the same opinions you do, you’re probably not worshipping God.

 

Imagine, if in your church:

Love surged.

Hope got fueled.

You could disagree but not be disagreeable.

You focused on what united people, not on what divided people.

 

In a divided culture, Christians should be the help and the hope, not the hate.”