I am preaching this week. I haven't preached since Christmas Eve because of my Greek class that I just finished last week. I am beginning a series called "Love is the Movement." (Yes, I stole the phrase from the twloha t-shirt.)
I've been reading Brian McLaren's book Everything Must Change this past week or so. In it, McLaren writes:
"More and more reflective Christin leaders are beginning to realize that for the millions of young adults who dropped out of their churches in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the Christian religion appears to be a failed religion."
McLaren goes into the ways in which the established Church has failed to live out the ideals and example of God through Jesus Christ. He cites that many have been concerned about escaping this world rather than being the hands and feet of Christ in it. I've heard many times that the story and the message of Jesus is the "Greatest Story Ever Told." We can look around us at the divorce rate, depression, drug/alchohol abuse, porn/sex addictions, war, genocide, poverty, child exploitation, inequity of social classes, etc., etc., etc., and we see that "a message purporting to be the best news in the world should be doing better than this."
Certainly McLaren writes this with the purpose of being provacative, but there is truth in the statement. In Western Christianity we often miss the mark (like the dog in the picture) and forget what Jesus taught us. In Mark, chapter 12, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. He replies, "The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this; Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."
What kind of a movement would it be if we truly loved God and our neighbors? What if we loved the illegal immigrant at Wal-Mart the same way we loved our own son or daughter? What if we really started to send aid around the way rather than promoting peace through "redemptive violence?" What would it look like is we joined with our brothers and sisters in our communities and truly prayed for one another? We would see a movement of love that the world has only seen in Jesus. We would see God's Kingdom in full effect. You see, while Christianity- as an organized religion- has failed on some level, God has not failed. And is faithful to work through those who live a life of love.
Are you ready to join a movement? Are you ready to live love? Join me in the movement.