I am sitting out on my back porch listen to music. No, it is not the music we listen to in church. I have come to think of that as "bubble" music. It places us into a bubble where all is pure and wonderful. It touches our heart where we need to be touched. But it exists in a bubble. It is not the real world. It is praise and joy and halleluiah. It is heaven on Earth. But most people live in hell...
I don't intend to be offensive here but I suspect that I will be to many of my brothers and sisters. I am going to sacrifice some of our sacred cows. We have them, you know. Like Aaron and the children of Isreal at the foot of Mt. Siani, we have built our own calves of gold. We name one of those idols Doctrine. The teachings that define us as different from those that do not have it right. The idols of division that cause us to look down our nose at those that honestly understand the word differently than us. We squabble, judge and sneer at each other with words intentionally chosen to cut down and degrade others that believe in Jesus and are trying their best to live lives as His disciple.
We have closed our ears to the world around us. We can no longer hear them. We can no longer care about them because we are fixated on whether or not a female can serve crackers and grape juice, speak or share a thought. We are fixated on "decently and in order". Our minds are fully engaged. We can argue the point. We can debate and win. We are obsessed with the mechanics, the doing, the outward signs of our righteousness and like the church of the Ephesians, we have lost our first love. Our heart has taken second place to our mind's desire to "do things right".
I can think of no instance when Jesus condemned a people for their doctrine. I can think of no instance when God, before Jesus, condemned the Jews for the way in which they worshiped him. If there was any condemnation it was because their hearts were not right. Not because their minds were not right. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus is very pointed. God wants our hearts, not just our minds.
What if what we do on Sunday mornings is meaningless in the larger scheme of things. What if the fact that we have elders and preachers instead of pastors is meaningless. What if the fact that we take the Lords Supper every week is not important to our Lord. What if the fact that we sing acapella is just a nice thing to us. What if the structure of our worship is but a convenience, one to encourage us but not necessarily the command of God. What if God is not interested in our identity. I ask because I am not sure I know the answer. In my heart I believe that our focus may be misdirected.
All that said to say that we have lost the ability to hear, listen, understand... Wondering when I would get to the title? So was I :)
I believe we have become blind and deaf to the world. They are hurting. Pain that we are, for the most part, incapable of understanding. Who among us has suffered from addiction, abortion, rape, family hatred, vindictiveness, and poverty? (If you are reading this it is likely that you are in the top 5% of global society) Who among those that are reveling in their salvation, their heaven on Earth, is willing to do as Jesus did and step outside of paradise to see, understand and love the people who still live in hell every day. Every single day. Hell.
We need to learn how to listen. We need to learn how to hear the cries of the lost and hear them in their own language (crude as it might be). Jesus did not come to judge but to offer salvation. We need to remove our blinders and open our hearts to the hurt that surrounds us. We, like Jesus, need to focus on the needs of the impoverished, the sinner, the sluts (does that word offend you?), the thieves, the people dependent on society and the generosity of others.
We are to be Jesus. He "Heard" (with all of the connotations that come with that word), the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well living in sin, the blind men, the lepers, the dregs of society. He did not isolate Himself within the bubble. He did not wear blinders. He saw people. All people.
So, as we politely (or not) argue the finer points of the law and how we should communicate and how we devote our energies in the defense of the mechanics of our faith, our "doctrine", people are dying, alone, in pain, in sin and all the ugliness that comes with that. Are you willing to leave your paradise to "hear" and save the lost? Jesus was.