Jul. 25, 2015

Dancing to a different tune...

For ten years, I worked closely with a local denominational association. The non-profit organization hosted hundreds of churches in South Texas by offering educational opportunities, Christian counseling, and social support in at-risk areas. Considering we were a denominational entity, our view became quite limited. Many of us were guilty of tunnel vision and seemed willing to live life within our own circle. Most, me included, grew unwilling to entertain the idea that we actually had a few more things to learn about God.  Despite our professions and book knowledge, we did not have God or God’s work all figured out.

As an organization, we jointly read the book, “Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith,” by Richard Foster. Our Executive Director challenged us to steer clear of judging other congregations and discover our specific role in Christ’s Body.

To kick off the study, we gathered at a church in The Heights. The ED invited pastors who displayed particular characteristics of the Christian faith to help launch our study.  (Please read the book – I don’t want to give too much away.) The person who stood up first said something about growing up in the Catholic Church and breaking his mother’s heart when he made the decision to “go evangelical.”  Another man stood up and shared that he married a United Pentecostal woman and simply couldn’t join her church where “all the shaking, baking, and dancing” went on throughout the service. He said he found it “terribly distracting.”

A person stood up from the back of the room, walked slowly down the aisle, paused before the microphone and said, “I am a United Pentecostal Pastor.  I apologize if our worship style offends you. We are very serious in how we honor and celebrate the King.”  Hush spread across the room.

Another man came from the back of the room.  It was obvious he was a priest. He said to the group, “I do not understand why you teach what you teach and I do not understand why you are so determined to belittle what we teach, but I trust God to speak to you just the same.” He sat down.

We had a very wise ED.  He integrated the launch of the book study purposely bringing in varying styles in order to make a point – what appeals to me might not appeal to you and vice versa.

So who is right?  Only Jesus.  He is our All in all.