Category Archives: Grace and Spiritual Drift

Hypergrace

photo courtesy historybyzim.com
photo courtesy historybyzim.com

A persistent church disease is that congregations behave like country clubs instead of field hospitals. The spirit of the Pharisees has never died. Good boys, i.e., respectable achievers with money, are desired. Bad girls, not so much.

Those quiet visitors to your church, who sit in the back and try not to be noticed, are there not because they are really successful and are looking for a wider audience…They are much more likely to be hurting and broken, looking for forgiveness and acceptance and hope. They know they need God, and they would love a loving community.

Unconditional grace. Genuine love. What do those terms mean, and why are they so hard to ‘give’? These are the things that have been on my mind a lot these past few weeks and months. The MercyMe song “Crazy Enough” has really hit home for me, with its lyrics such as:

Call me crazy but what if we learn
To love our brother for nothing in return?
Oh how the rules would change

To sing along when life’s playing their tune
And cry with them when their hearts broken in two
Have I lost my mind?

Today, in reading one of my devotionals, I ran across the paragraph that began this post. It caused me to think about several discussions I’ve had lately with some of my Christian brothers on how to love those far from God within the context of a genuine and unconditional (if there is such thing) relationship.

Whether it be the neighbor having an affair, the brother with the destructive drinking problem, the abusive and mad-at-the-world parent, or the unrepentant gay co-worker. Do we dare offer them continuing love, and grace, and (dare I say it) forgiveness? Do they deserve it?

Continue reading Hypergrace

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Overcoming Fear and Loathing: or Church-going for Church-haters

Church bashing AP photo

A lot of people, even well-meaning Christians, often ask: “I can help people. I can read scripture. I can commune with God in nature/with family/on my own. So, why do I need church?”

The institution of “Church” has taken a bum rap lately: not entirely undeserved, either. Many people associate the word church with the outward manifestations of dogma, false pretense, hypocrisy and mock compassion.

“I don’t need church. Church is full of hypocrites and bigots and holier-than-thou a**holes!”  And, in all honesty, there is definitely that factor found within the four walls of today’s many religious institutions. But are we hastening towards a “throwing the baby out with the bath water” scenario here? Isn’t the rush to judgment of church and those who attend it in itself a form of holier-than-thou hypocrisy?

Let me give you two reasons why I think we, most especially well-meaning Christians, need church. Continue reading Overcoming Fear and Loathing: or Church-going for Church-haters