Over the last couple of days, I’ve been doing some thinking (yeah, I know…trying something new!) and talking with some others about this idea of incarnational ministry. I see – in myself and others – a rather cynical attitude toward those who “we” feel “just don’t get it.” And today, I’m engaged by the fact that we may be more like Dr. Frankenstein than we want to admit.
In a very real sense, we are the ones who have created the monster which we now criticize and before whom we cringe.
We have been the ones who told our people (now there’s an interesting concept – are they our people or God’s people?) to “come apart and be separate.”
We have argued for and created Christian “alternatives” to the mainstream culture and its icons.
We are the ones who substituted political maneuvering for redemptive involvement.
We are the ones who complained about and criticized the inroads of the culture.
We made “evangelism” all about a heavenly “fire insurance policy” instead of life transforming discipleship.
We taught our people for a long time to distrust the corrupting culture around us.
We encouraged them to withdraw into the holy huddle of the safe and warm religious cocoon.
We may be the ones who have taken the words of Romans 12 to an extreme that may not have been originally intended.
We scoffed at the “social gospel” that sought to lift up those who were downtrodden and depressed.
We alienated those who couldn’t offer us anything in return for our participation.
We focused all our attention on litmus tests of purity.
And now we get cynical about the people we’ve created doing exactly what we created them to do. And we wonder why now, they don’t really see any need to invade and influence our culture.
As much as I see a great need for revolutionary reformation in many of our – my – attitudes and actions; as hard as I come down on those that don’t appear to “buy into” the next “great thing;” I do need to remember that God is pretty peculiar about His church. He cares a great deal for those He has redeemed.
God, help me to be patient and loving with those who are your beautiful Bride. Help me remember they are not some hideous, streaked-hair bride of Frankenstein. Help me to challenge them, but lovingly. More than anything else, help me to be serious about being and doing what I call them to account for not being and doing.