Not everything that comes into the pew is centered on biblical thought or conversations. Our daily lives expose us to the other side, so to speak. For the Christian there is something more than just today or tomorrow or even the years to come, there is the promise of eternity, life everlasting, the reality of salvation. Stretching it a bit you could say there are two realities. The one of certainty which lies in the promises of Christ or the reality of these days, the uncertainty of what is to come. So let’s deal with the reality of today which means we will have to step out of the pew. Stepping out of the pew causes problems, because we tend to leave a large part of our Christian values behind. It is hard for Christians to live a life in which their values have been reduced by legislation or marginalized by “Socially Accepted Convention.” Like it or not our reality is one of what is to come, not of this day or this world. Yet we must live in the reality of today, which unfortunately causes many of us to try to blend in with or accept these “Socially Accepted Conventions.” What is this convention we are speaking about?
A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often taking the form of a custom.
Convention (norm) – Wikipedia
These norms or standards, social or otherwise, were not necessarily due to legislative efforts but simply the results of the culture of the day. Such is the result of Christians not speaking up or in most cases just leaving our values in the pew and accepting things as they are. It is much easier to believe we can do nothing about these things and allow our silence to validate the culture of the day, accepting what is instead of what is possible. I suppose what led me to this is of all things the political climate in our country. Now politics is not the driver here but the total abandonment of our Christian faith to resist the marginalizing of our values is a big part of today’s disfunction. Is he bringing politics into the pew? No, it is the source of what I am about to write. I will try to be reasonable but what I saw the other night during the SOTU address confirmed in my mind what I have felt I was seeing every day. The disrespect, the reluctance to listen and the level of pure hate that enveloped the faces of those who were there was disturbing. Now it would not be fair to say that all of those in attendance were on one side of the aisle only. Hate is never confined to one place, person or thing. It permeates and effects everything around it. What I saw in that chamber was the culture of hate alive and well and to make it worse, no one challenged it. Just like our society today it appeared to be just an accepted social convention, how sad. It had become just another news story of our day. Here are eight core Christian values we sometimes leave in the pew.
• Grace – a subversive value! Giving people more than they deserve.
• Hope – not a guarantee of immunity from harm but a conviction that God is always
• Faith – the means to real depth in relationships of all kinds
• Love – means to love the unlovely
• Justice – for all (not ‘just-me’). A concept biased in favor of the disadvantaged.
• Joy – impossible to legislate for this but an essential social value
• Service – meaning is found in service rather than self-centredness
• Peace– not just the absence of fighting but positive well-being
These are theologically based values, God is in and through all of them. They are Christological values, they are all demonstrated in the life of Christ.
Brian Edgar, Director of Theology and Public policy for the Evangelical Alliance. (ethos.org.au)
I think I can wrap it at this point, 721 words so far, yeah I count words, weird but to many words can dull the point you are trying to make. Our acceptance of those “Socially Accepted Conventions” feeds this “Culture of Hatred” which seems to be becoming one of those “Socially Accepted Conventions”. There were many social norms in Jesus’ day although quite different from ours today, which of course is understandable. If we spend our life in righteous indignation there would be no time left to tell “the story”. I simply turn to scripture to offer a little help in a messed up world.
Philippians 4: 8-9
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
God Bless, Life is Good