Thursday, December 31, 2009

This week's lesson: Fruits of the Spirit

Every church is an experiment.

Most Christians agree that we should love God, after all -- and what's more, we'd agree that we should love His people too.

So far, so good.

But when it comes to the how of this love (not to mention the who, what, when, where, and why) . . . well, there's all kinds of ideas out there.

As a result, even the small town where I live has several dozen churches, fellowships, centers, and communities-of-faith -- all of which believe they've found the best way to produce the kind of love we all want.
  • Some are structured, and some are not.
  • Some are traditional, and some are not. 
  • Some draw their authority from the Bible, while others take their cue from last Sunday's editorial in The New York Times.
No, you name it and there's a church that's done it -- and as a result, it's easy enough to check out the results of just about any idea or practice that might come along.

Want to know what happens, for instance, when you treat the pastor as the Final Authority on Everything? Or when your statement-of-beliefs consists of little more than "Follow your bliss"? Or when you think it would be unkind, unloving, and positively unChristian to do background checks on the people who work with children?

No, you don't need to guess the answer to any of these questions -- not when there's a church nearby that's been there, done that, and has plenty of leftover T-shirts to give away.

In short, churches are like gardens -- and while they may disagree on everything else, they all see the need for a crop.

And if you check out their "fruits" . . .

Then you just might figure out a better way to grow them yourself!


Ken Summerlin said...

You make a valid point that if we look hard enough, we can probably find a church that already has experience with the idea that we're mulling-over. Unfortunately, I haven't found an effective way to tap into all of that wealth of knowledge and experience, just a small portion of it.

I might differ with you on the notion that all of the other churches "believe they have found the best way to produce the kind of love that we want." Rather, I think we recognize that not all people are "wired" the same way and that we must communicate the same eternal truth truth of the Gospel in different ways to reach different people.

Thanks for your insightful post.

Pastor Greg said...

Try reading The Christian Century and Christianity Today -- they're an easy way to keep up on what's happening elsewhere.

And nothing beats a knowledge of church history for insight into today's issues!