Two Way Street – – my heart for believers

The_two_bridges

 

Dear Russell & Friends,

We’re less than a week away from the first anniversary of our writing adventure.  We shall reclaim Friday the 13th for something useful.  As confessed before, I find myself reflective – – almost in a New Year’s Eve-y kind of mood.  Why are we here?  Does it matter?  Recent comments have reminded me.  We are here to form friendships that can ask hard questions in the dining room.  I used to think the family room, but Mrs. Pascal won’t routinely let me eat in there.  Something else has struck me as I better read and understand my friend CC (Russell’s wife).  My call is forming to the skeptical – – I honestly find so many to be so likeable and interesting.  My call is also forming to revise the hearts of people like me who ignored, reviled, or discounted them for so long.  I actually do love the church – – not a building, but a community of Christ followers.  And because I love the church, I am willing to humbly criticize it – – realizing that the first to be criticized is me.

What did I need to hear?  Avoiding the skeptic and painting her with a thin haired brush is too pious by half. She does care about justice and mercy because she was made in the image of God – – whether she has acknowledged that God or not.  She does things that are:  true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.  Think on those things.

What did I need to hear?  Is there anything in my life or theology that is attractive or worthy of imitation?  Has it become about social acceptability and one-off platitudes for me?  Should I defend a broken American church or work to reform her?  I’m landing more on the side of the latter.  Love reforms.  Love criticizes his own heart, his own family, his own motives.

What did I need to hear?  Will I tolerate the continued scandal of the evangelical mind, or join the heritage of the Jesuits and engage my mind, culture, and tribe of humanity?

What did I need to hear?  The health and wealth gospel that I was raised with was a false gospel.  Joel Osteen is a false prophet.  The authentic gospel (discovered in my twenties) changed my whole life.  The authentic gospel saved the greatest wrath for the pharisee, not the sinner.  I have been both.  Remember the mercy you were given Pascal – – how dare you not offer it freely to another?

I am grateful for our friends and readers who follow Christ.  You may be the silent majority.  I hope that reading here will change the inclination of your heart just as writing here has done for me.  If we take Jesus seriously, how can we not weep for the pain caused in his name?  How can we not stand for something different in our generation?  St. Augustine saw the Visigoths sack Rome in 410 AD and died with the Vandals at the gate in North Africa.  He stood in a time of transition and was called to speak truth to his generation – – remember that he wrote to the church.  Now we stand in the post-modern, pre-future chasm.  Can’t we just call it the present?  What will we do?  We will care about our generation and reclaim the authentic gospel that deeply cares about people and profoundly transforms lives.  If we present an authentic gospel, it can rise or fall on its own merits.  I will no longer defend or tolerate the false.

 

Blessings,

Pascal

–1:16

photo credit:  © Frank Schulenburg / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via wikimedia commons

20 comments

  1. Good morning Pascal,

    Is there anything in my life or theology that is attractive or worthy of imitation?

    A rhetorical question for sure, but I’ll bite. There is a lot about your life that is attractive and worthy of imitation, at least in my book. What you are doing on this blog is something that so few of us are doing (including those like me who truly want to but sometimes fail at it) – you are building bridges across what looks to be a great divide. Thank you so much for that Pascal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen brother, it is important for us to evaluate whether or not we are worthy of following. In the words of Paul, be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Christ is the gauge that measures that truth. Do I think, look, and love like Christ?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yes – I have left a comment for Russell, and here I find your words and thoughts so beautiful too. – Pleased to have found your site gentlemen. THIS is how things should work.
    I hope I shall visit more frequently – if not noticeably I am likely to drop in from time to time.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well here in Australia it is now Friday the 13th! So I Just wanted to say congratulations on your (both yourself and Russell’s) blogging milestone!! Thank you both for creating a safe place for discussion and friendship. May it continue in gentleness and respect.
    JJ

    Liked by 1 person

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