A Radical And Transforming Gospel

Today is one of those days when I am having trouble writing what I am feeling and thinking.  I've been listening to news reports, and reading through my Facebook feed most of the morning, and my heart is heavy.  

In the aftermath of the horrific events that have happened this past week in Charlottesville, you would think the overwhelming Christian response would be one of unequivocal condemnation of violence and hatred.  

You would think that because that's the only response that would be in keeping with the teachings of Jesus, right? 

Yet, I've had to come to grips with the realization that many of us who call ourselves Christians are struggling to unequivocally name the sin of racism and bigotry as sin. We would much rather shift the blame, find a new scapegoat perhaps.  Or find some other sin to name. 

And this why so many statements of condemnation by Christians over the events at Charlottesville have come across as defensive, and full of blame-shifting.  

This is the kind of thing so many of us do when the truth of who we really are is held up to us as though reflected in a mirror.  We don't want to deal with our own darkness, so we try to distract and avoid the truth at all costs.  

But we were meant for more than this.  The Gospel of Jesus is transformative, and if we aren't being transformed by the radical grace of God through Jesus, then perhaps what we're placing our faith and trust in isn't the Gospel.   

It's easy to say we follow Jesus until following Jesus means that we have to put our faith and trust in him, not in our political leanings or social worldview.  And let's be clear, this isn't a left or a right issue.  All of us who claim to follow Jesus need to own this. 

Richard Rohr wrote about this very thing in his book Breathing Under Water.  He writes: 

 "[M]any Christians whittle down the great Gospel to some moral issue over which they can feel totally triumphant and superior, and which usually asks nothing of them personally."  

As you pray and reflect over the issues that seem to be dividing and wounding our society, may you find opportunities to repent where you need to repent, make peace where peacemaking is mandated and may you be transformed into the image of Jesus as you let the Spirit of reconciliation and resurrection fall upon you.   

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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