Sunday, February 27, 2005

Lifting Up, Not Pushing Down

The Academy Awards are on tonight. From what I've been told, anyway. I'm not much into things like that. I don't need to see everyone in their new designer dresses, and since I haven't seen the movies I really don't care who wins. Plus there's something about movie stars giving awards to movie stars that really bores me. I could live without award shows just fine.

Same with political elections. The only way to get elected, it seems, is to sling mud. It doesn't matter what kind or how old it is (or even if it's true or not), mud is the weapon of choice. Most politicians feel they only rise to the top by pushing their opponent down. Most of the country is sick of it, yet it continues because it seems to work. Even candidates who run a "clean campaign" eventually either get smeared with dirt or respond with a return mud volley. It gets depressing to watch. Even with the outcry against it, many voters with a preference even resort to it. It's easy to put someone down. Much easier than singing the praises of your own candidate.

I shared this paragraph with the congregation this morning. It's from a comic named Brad Stine in his book, Being a Christian Without Being an Idiot. Cool title, huh? But he did a fine job of articulating many of the things I've been trying to say for quite a while.
Still I'm looking for the rise of the neo-Christian in this country. Educated in his faith, desperate for God, and daily sacrificing his flesh for the sake of the lost by being real, admitting his weaknesses; yet never ceasing from moving forward in the quest, not to ever demean other religions or ideologies, but simply, by education, reason, and practice to lift up the name of Christianity.

My correction would be that we are to lift up the name of Christ, but aside from that Stine hit it on the head. Instead of marching to the tune of Onward, Christian Soldiers all the time, we as Christians need to lift up Jesus Christ by the way we live our lives. Sure, it's easier to take potshots at atheists and shoot flames at Hindus and talk down the Moslems and badmouth the Humanists, but our concern should be lifting high the cross of Christ. There is nothing wrong with debating or even calling a sin a sin. But tearing down in not the goal. The goal is presenting, living, learning, experiencing, and demonstrating the love of Jesus.

Jesus dealt with people, not with condemnation (except for the corrupt religious leaders) but with compassion, forgiveness and instruction to "Go and sin no more." My prayer that is all that I do -- explaining Christian doctrine, dealing with people I meet, playing with the kids, preaching His word and whatever else I do during the day -- will all be done in the spirit of lifting up Christ, and not pushing down others. It is also my prayer for all Christians world-wide.


seeker of truth said...

I loved the quote but what is a NEO Christian?? Googled it and not sure but it doesn't sound all good but please educate me. BUT I loved the quote....

rev-ed said...
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rev-ed said...

Just substitute the word "new" for "Neo" -- essentially this would be a new breed of Christian (although it's a shame that this is true) who is seeking to go deeper in his Christian walk instead of relying on a couple of verses memorized in Sunday School. He would be putting God first, not just as a weekly or twice-weekly commitment. He would get Himself off the top of his priority list and put God in his place. He would not be concerned with what he gives up so much as he is concerned with pleasing God and sharing the joy of doing so with other people. He would not be fake, pretending not to have doubts or problems or questions, but he would never be so satisfied that he would not seek God in the good and the bad times. He would not worry about attacking other ideas, but instead concentrate on proclaiming the truth about his Lord and Savior by learning more about God, by logically showing how God and His Word are true and by living out what he believes, and in so doing, letting his light shine before men so that people will see the good deeds done and praise (not him) but his Father in heaven.

Don't get caught up in the "neo" terminology. Just realize it's not what we naturally have seen from many Christians, and it's what we're supposed to be.

seeker of truth said...

That's where I took it just making sure...THAT'S why I loved it!