Authentic Christianity is not about taking stands but about taking steps.
During our wonderful time of vacation I had the rare opportunity to watch Sunday morning television. The news shows are no longer relegated to just Sunday morning. Cable has them 24/7. But the really good ones are still on Sunday morning, which usually eliminates me from the regular audience pool.
I had the occasion to watch one quiet morning and I was disturbed by what I saw. A topic was stated and then a panel began something less than a conversation. Voices raised. Participants interrupted those speaking. It was barely civil. It was hardly informative. I didn’t watch long.
But as I attempted to listen, I strained to hear the true content of the voices. Each one was taking a stand, usually polar, and mostly without development of position. And none of them were willing to personally own or participate. They spent all their time blaming someone for something. None of them shared what they were doing to help resolve the issues.
In short, they were taking a stand without taking any steps.
In my pondering I sometimes worry about the condition of church and religion and our practice of both. I am so grateful that ours is a congregation mostly of steps. While we have our healthy share of folks who take stands, most of you are caring people willing to take steps to do and be God’s ministry.
While folks who take stands get much of the media attention, those who take steps are doing the real work of faith. The mission of Jesus was not about issuing policy statements but about doing the will of God. A great portion of the gospel is dedicated to what Jesus did rather than to what he said. The church is the body of Christ in the world today. We are to serve like Jesus served. Serving in the name of Christ or proclaiming the words of Jesus is not an either/or option. It is both/and.
Consider how you will take steps…and why you take them. In your quiet time when you evaluate your faith and your church and your practice of both, are you a “stands” person or are you a “steps” person?
(Original content written July 2009)