Uncommon Family - Why are we doing this?

September 09 2016
September 09 2016

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Why Are We Doing This?

The purpose for Uncommon Family is simple; that we may fight for the unity we have in Jesus Christ.

Remember with me Philippians 2:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

That is really the heart of this effort.

It seems that one of the great callings of Jesus followers is to labor for the unity of the church—and do so with a humility that always honors others.

You know there are huge fractures in American society; but we must not let them continue to divide the church.

Think about it with me - Church History itself recounts too many times where the family of Jesus killed each other over national, ethnic, political, and racial tension. It would be folly to assume the Church in the U.S. has been immune to this kind of tragedy – both historically, and also in our present season.

Don’t misunderstand; I don’t believe that the church in Winston-Salem is about to take up arms against one another or other Christians with whom they disagree. And yet when I tune into social media, I’m reminded at just how toxic, cruel, and divisive Christians can be towards each other and our neighbors that we are called to serve.

If I’m reading our culture rightly, we are being malformed toward discord, resentment, and division.  My hope and prayer is that this ongoing conversation will help form us to resist the spirit of our age that leads to our malformation, and instead will provide an opportunity for us.

We pray for opportunity to manifest as:

  • wrestling with truth and experience
  • an eagerness to listen and love across divides
  • a re-imagination of beauty of the united Church that Jesus prayed for in John 17

So, at the heart, it’s simple-

We want to work the transforming grace of Jesus further into the soil of our lives so a more biblically-shaped and grace-saturated harvest might grow amid issues of race, culture, and ethnicity.

 

Forming a Biblical Posture

The curious thing is that as we survey these topics in Scripture, they begin to emerge as some of its central themes.

We are not just reforming our posture because the nation in which we live has been reeling with ethnic tension, but because the Scriptures put forth the healing of nations and the breaking down of ethnic and civic hostility, as part of the warp and woof of Salvation—the vocabulary of God’s redemption.

Ephesians tells us that Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father and to one another; to tear down the dividing walls of hostility that so easily separate us. John depicts a revelation of God’s finale: a new humanity from every tongue, tribe, and nation worshipping the Trinity. Can’t you see it, friends? The Church’s ethnic reconciliation is not a side agenda, a social experiment, or the justice concern d’jour.

It is the very consummation of God’s salvific work in the world.

The triumph over sin and death manifests not just in forgiveness of sin but the healing of racial, cultural, and ethnic tensions.  In a word—shalom. Unity and Peace.

And that’s really why we are doing this.  We are practicing and preparing to worship together for eternity. We are leaning into what He promises to make us—one new people.  And we are living out what is already true about us—that In Him we are one body.

An Encouragement

This season of learning isn’t supposed to change much. Instead, I hope we form ourselves to see this as an opportunity to continue being transformed by God’s grace into faithful servants of all. All that we are doing – it is not a silver bullet that will solve racial tension in our city or our church, or will bring heart-felt reconciliation across divisive lines in our city.  That happens over time, through a thousand conversations, and the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

And this is good news.  We do not, and we will not solve our own problems as Christians – that work has already been done for us! However, we can listen and learn, and challenge and confess.

Much love to you, Redeemer.  May THE Redeemer grow us in grace to face the challenges of our day, and fulfill the beautiful calling as sons and daughters of The Father.


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