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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Reflection on How Theology does matter...eventually

It is quite common in certain circles these days to say that as long as we act together, we can believe whatever we want. And we don't have to agree on all our beliefs in order to work together. That is certainly true...until it's not.

Use the example of the local food pantry in our town, Joseph's Coat. Anyone can contribute to Joseph's Coat, and they will accept donations from anyone who wants to help. The same is true for the goods and services they provide; there is no litmus test of belief, sanity, or soberness in order to receive help from Joseph's Coat.

Because of that openness at Joseph's Coat almost every Christian congregation in the town helps out in one way or another. Even congregations that have dissension and anger towards other congregations can both be partners with Joseph's Coat. And it can be tempting to assume because such congregations can work together on Joseph's Coat that they must be pretty much the same, based on a limited sample of evidence. But, of course, all of the congregations are different. and about the only thing they actually do agree on is that Joseph's Coat is important.

This is where things get interesting: is the fact that so many congregations that disagree in so many ways can work together on a project like Joseph's Coat a trend towards the future or a statistical anomaly? Because here is the thing: Joseph's Coat would close were it not for the donations of the congregations. And, if all the people who believe in Joseph's Coat were to leave their congregations and make their community at Joseph's Coat a "congregation" of sorts; what would they do besides helping others? The minute they try to worship or teach all their differences would arise, and they'd have to go back to the very congregations they left. We need everybody to be free. And since everybody is free, we'll probably all be different.

"For freedom, Christ has set you free." Paul the Apostle wrote that in his letter to folks in Galatia, and that line has huge ramifications for why we need difference and diversity in our congregations and in our world. Freedom is different, depending on your context. But Christ is always pushing us to more and more freedom, not less and less. And one result of that freedom is that we will be different, as our contexts are different.

In my context, I am free to own a gun, but I am not free to drive as fast as I want in my Camaro (warning: bonus picture of my car below). In Germany, those freedoms are just the opposite. I can die by Smith and Wesson, they can die by Porsche.Image result for grey camaro 2011

Contrary to popular belief, beliefs do matter, and they will probably never go away. We will always strive for more and more freedom...that's why Christ set us free.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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