Superfluous communication, constrained intimacy, imaginary commitment and zero accountability: that's what I've decided defines that majority of Facebook relationships. I am the last person on earth to completely trash the medium. I love it. After being without it for almost week, I miss it. I still believe a good lunch date wins in a death match between the two relational options.
Superfluous communication, constrained intimacy, imaginary commitment, and zero accountability often define something else: the church.
As soon as the name Jesus is out there brains everywhere make the decision to turn off or look away. It is not surprising that is the case. It is a divisive name, and has been since the first miracle, I suspect. I don't really want or expect that response from the church, however. There are two issues I've struggled with over the last few years regarding the church. The first has to do with our lack of intimate relationships with each other. The second regards our lack of commitment to our creator, our Savior, and the church in general.
Are we recreating the flaws of digital media within our church walls? Is our goal to please the masses and ignore the life-change that Christ expected? Is our goal to create a safe haven for social networking rather than an intimate family of believers? Is our goal to quietly blend in with our cultural surroundings and never make definitive statements to avoid controversy? If so, I'm on the wrong ship and need to get off. I do not want these paths away from scripture to define my faith system.
You see, I shudder to think that this miraculous provision of grace becomes our permission slip to neglect our walk with the Savior and our commitment to His body, the church. In my favorite gospel, John, is the beautiful story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus draws a line in the sand separating this woman from the onslaught of Pharisees standing ready to throw stones. He saves her in two ways, he silences the accusing crowd by asking the first sin-free person to take the first shot at this woman. Secondly, He saves her from the path she was on when He says, "I don't condemn you either, go, and from now on sin no more."
Friends, he expected her to change her life. He didn't say, "yep, you are OK right where you are. We don't expect anything out of you!" He said, "Go, I'm not condemning you, but cut it out."
When Jesus fulfilled the law, his expectation for how we live did not change or diminish. Rather, he expected more out of us. He expected our thoughts, our actions, everything in our lives to be focused on living for and loving our God. He did not abandon us to depravity or to addiction. He freed us from the bounds of eternal damnation, thanks to grace. But He also didn't give us a free pass to live in sin! Read the gospel of Matthew, if you disagree. Christ was all about the denial of self. Unfortunately we live a culture that is all about pleasing self. Do we adhere to happiness doctrines rather than holiness requirements?
I am a sinner. I fall short every day. I don't excuse myself for that behavior. I know I will mess up again. I won't excuse myself from that either, none of us should. Thanks to Christ! He set me free from the punishment of the law. Grace covers my sin, but does not assume I'll still live within it. Romans 6:1 states, "Are we to continue in sin so grace may abound? By no means~ How can we who died to sin still live in it?"
I suppose what I'm looking for is an authentic search for what Christ desires from us. I long for a renewed commitment to the word of God. I seek a passion for reverent and spiritual worship. Really, I never want our churches to reflect a convenient digital connection. I am ready to define our churches as deep, challenging, authentic, and devoted.