My blog today is simple: just two quotes, both wise I think, that I hope you will reflect on and then leave a comment about what comes to mind.
Both remind us of truths that are often forgotten today in the church, if not heatedly refuted. Both are vital, for the health of our spirituality and for what the watching world sees in us concerning our faith. To believe both and try to live accordingly will perhaps result in criticism from fellow Christians. To believe both and live accordingly is to go against the flow—to resist the most common thought forms and dominant practices embraced by the wider evangelical community. So it takes courage to do so, and care that we don’t slide into a smug pride that we aren’t like all the rest.
What is at stake is the gospel.
“We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” (Madeleine L’Engle in Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art; page 122.)
“To identify the church as the sole locus of God's redemptive concern is badly to misunderstand the scheme of salvation. Indeed, it is to invert it. God wants the whole world back, not just a selection of human beings. And he wants it back not to bask in the eternal adoration of the redeemed saints, as per the vision offered at the end of Dante’s Paradiso and in countless lesser depictions of heaven, but to enjoy the give-and-take of shalom with all his creatures and among them as well. To repeat, therefore: the church performs its distinctive redemptive calling within, and in the service of, the general call of God upon humanity to be stewards of the whole earth God loves.” (John Stackhouse, Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World, p. 237. Thanks to my friend Steve Froehlich for this one.)
I look forward to reading your reflections and reactions in the comments you leave.