It’s a week before the Presidential election and like some ghastly traffic accident, I can’t bear to look or seem to look away. Politics is like that. The repulsive indulgence we hate ourselves for peeking at.
As I’ve watched this election season unfold, I’ve started to ponder some interesting parallels. An intriguing overlap between the trajectory of American political culture and the journey of the western Church.
I’ve never claimed to be the most intellectual guy out there, so call this my laymen’s analysis. If you disagree it’s OK, I’m not on the ballot.
A grossly over-simplistic analysis of the American political scene might looks something like this:
One group fights to hang onto traditional mindsets, finding health and hope in the way things have always been.
Another group claims flaws in the foundation, seeking to progress beyond what we’ve always known to something they believe more noble or enlightened.
Which side of that equation you fall on tends to depend a lot on where you live, how good or bad those existing mindsets and structures have treated you, and how exposed you’ve been to other cultures and ways of thinking.
I believe you could argue a similar grossly over-simplistic trend in the western church today.
One group fights to hold onto the traditional understanding of the church, perhaps giving new or updated expression to old models, but staying true to the essence of what has always been (at least in our culture).
Another group challenges what they see as fundamental flaws, seeking to push beyond what we’ve always known to something they believe to be truer and greater.
Again, I believe geography (both regionally and also urban/suburban), personal experience (either beauty or pain), and exposure to other ways of thinking are the major driving forces.
So who’s right? Like politics, I’m not sure the answers are ever neat and tidy. But I do know they’re more about Who than how.
Let’s be honest, a lot of things can get in the way – or even take the place of – an authentic relationship with God. But liberal or conservative, high church or house church, the enemy is sin – not our church expressions. And the goal is Christ – not our preferred way of life.
Regardless of your perspective on next week’s election or the state of the American Church, let’s never forget the centrality of the Gospel. This journey is about embracing what Christ has done for us, not arguing, pointing fingers, and debating who’s more right in what we are doing for Him.
Just my two cents. What do you think?