I've made mention in the past that I'm envious of my wife's "news feed" on Facebook. Now, let me be clear before going any further, I love or at least like the people on my friends list or they wouldn't be there. With that established, my wife and I exist in two entirely spheres when it comes to our friends (generally speaking). My friends list? Predominantly church folk and pastors. Her friends list? Artists and horse folk.
My news feed is inevitably dominated by the gnashing of teeth. Daily, hourly, I am reminded of the horrific state of the Church, how broken we are, and the impossibility of our current state. Hope is gone. My news feed rings the alarms of division, hatred, and disdain for one another. I see an awful lot of energy, a ridiculous amount, wasted on crying to anyone that will listen about the myriad scourges of the contemporary Church. I see repeated articles of why this group is leaving the church and why that one is leaving, and why we'll never get this one back. I see disagreements devolve quickly into flaming salvos of utter disdain; with absolutely no room or option for discussion. Minds have already been made up to hate. And you know, as I say so often to the people that know me, "We made our bed and now we've got sleep in it."
My wife's feed, which has a fair number of atheists and agnostics, has none of that. Zip. Zilch. Nada. It's so peaceful. I've not witnessed flame wars. I've not seen the gnashing of teeth over how broken the horse industry is, even though most would readily agree that it is, but rather I see people offering solutions to salvage what they love. And while there may be disagreements, they are almost universally united by their love of the horses. And the art crowd? They're so blissfully okay with being different that nothing seems to ruffle their feathers too much.
Two (technically three) different spheres of "interest" and two entirely different news feeds. To read my news feed would make you think that all of this "stuff" that we espouse, that our beliefs that are supposed to redeem, reconcile, and restore do the exact opposite. Our faith makes us angry, vengeful, and impotent. We get so wrapped up in our pet causes, our positions, that we stop living as Christ followers...if ever we did. We wonder why people consider us frauds.
My bishop recently sent out a letter reminding us that our mission, our call has not changed; we are still to be about our Father's work, we are to be about making disciples. This has been my rallying cry for quite some time. I have often challenged/wondered, "How on earth do you have the time and energy to be about disciple making when you are expending so much of each to combat your brothers and sisters?" And my goodness, what does our witness to the world look like? Simply check out the differing news feeds of Rickelle and I for a good, very clear commentary on that.
I'm not sure that I've ever espoused my views on any of the "hot button" issues facing the church today. Gay rights? Immigration? Israeli and Palestinian situation? This no doubt will irk and irritate many, I can hear it now, "You have got to take a position! You have an obligation! You are failing in your duty as a shepherd by remaining silent on such things!"
Giggle. You want to know what my position is on all of it and everything? Jesus saves. Corey doesn't save. I'm a mess; seriously, you have no idea. I can at times be uncouth, ornery, loud, cantankerous, and I sometimes laugh inappropriately and at inappropriate times. I'm tattooed and will probably get more. I'm letting my hair grow back out and think that it's hilarious that all of the gray I've accumulated makes my hair nigh unmanageable. I'm an Oakland Raiders fan too. Lord, help me. Seriously, I spent a good chunk of my morning prayer on these subjects.
However, I am fearless in my faith. I will not only gleefully take Jesus where no one else is willing, but I will take Him to those who you have no time or heart for. I'm not only unafraid to touch the "unclean", but I'm willing to try to hug the life back into them. I will stand in the gap for anyone. I have found the Kingdom in the here and now in South Louisville. I have seen the burning bush and I have quite literally taken off my shoes in its presence. Jesus saves. It is such a blessing to be able to step out into this mission field to get away from the "clanging cymbals".
My position? My position is simple. I know my role and I trust the Holy Spirit to fulfill His. I trust that despite my faults, the love of Christ flowing from me is what people will remember and what will impact them. I want people to see Jesus in my actions and my heart, I want to facilitate the introduction between those I encounter with the risen Christ. It's not my job to dictate that introduction, to make it on my terms, according to my position, aside from Jesus saves. I would much rather Jesus share with someone what His position is rather than to have it fall to me because I will screw it up; I know this.
My faith, my theology, my positions, all inform who I am and how I pastor and I still keep coming back to the same conclusion; Jesus saves. What if we stopped all of the gnashing of the teeth and the screeching to come back to that central truth? To be united in the power of Christ to save? What if we took all of that energy poured into disagreement into really, you know, being the hands and feet Christ? How different would the Church be? How different would the world be?