Living in Tension

Why can’t we live in tension? In a place of nuance. Jesus seemed to constantly navigate those waters. One minute he’s calling one of his religious leaders a son of the devil and the next welcoming a prostitute or a tax collector. He says BOTH – “If you’re not for me, you’re against me,” AND “If you’re not against me, you’re for me.” (Two very different things).

For instance, I refuse to be a Zionist. I do not believe that the modern nation of Israel has anything to do with Jesus or God’s promises. Zero. And I have Jewish friends and love the Jewish people.  There is tension there, but it’s true.

I refuse to give in to the spirit of this age in regards to homosexuality. Living in a gay relationship is not God’s original design and I can’t imagine ever being convinced that it is. Yet, the church has done inconceivable damage to the LGBT community and we need to fully repent and welcome them in as our own. I have gay friends and I will choose to love and accept them as I do anyone else.

Islam is a religion (like all religions – including Christianity) that distracts people from their true purpose in life: loving God and loving others. It doesn’t have to do that, but it most often does. It provides a feeling of security that’s nothing but tribalism. And yet, probably half of my closest friends in the world are Muslim. I respect them and what they believe and how they live as much as anyone in the world.

I love living in the tension of God’s sovereignty and our free will.

I want to live in the nuanced spaces between grace and truth. When sometimes one is more appropriate to use than the other. (Jesus was full of both.  I tend to err on the side of only one or the other).

I want to believe, but not be afraid of doubt.

I refuse to make my faith fit a bumper sticker, or to jump on bandwagons. Bashing the local church is a current favorite. I’m pleased to be part of a local, broken, wonderful, disappointing, healing community of people called “church.” But it’s true that many local churches probably look very little like Jesus (the Founder) would have imagined them.

I won’t be crammed into “emergent” or “house church movement” or “open and affirming” or “anti” anything or anyone. Jesus wasn’t. Except, when he was.

Systems are broken. People are hurting. And yet life springs up everywhere I look, if I can just open my eyes and see. Jesus, help me to have eyes to see what you are doing and respond accordingly.