Grace Emerges

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Peaceful Religion

by Brad Duncan

Is it any wonder that the church became a place of resisting the "other?"  In both the Industrial age and the Modern age the world was a scary place.  It still is, no doubt.  Modernization of the Western world was a rocky and volatile process.  Is it any wonder that our current culture is so shaped by fear of tyrants and empires, fear of power? Fear that the world would obliterate itself.  

Even though the Restoration Movement created an autonomous movement in opposition to the powerful church structures of its day, is it any wonder that in the Modern Age, the Age of Ideas and Order, that  this new church also became a place of ideological strength, of uniformity and exclusion, and ultimately a place of control? It is human nature to try to control the chaos around us.  To fight control with control.  Is it any wonder that we reacted to all the chaos by creating a system of power and control out of religious ideals?

But control is not peaceful.  The New Restoration should break down the walls of hostility to create a place of embracing the "other".  The New Restoration should create a Peaceful Religion.  Christianity that embraces the freedom that comes from serving Christ and from living by his words.  Freedom that believes in these principles so strongly that it partners with others who embrace peace, no matter what faith they may or may not have.  Freedom that comforts sinners instead of condemning them.  Freedom that brings water and education to remote villages.  Freedom that refreshes the inner cities and liberates the enslaved.  Faith based on principle and action, but not control, not fear of power and tyrants.  We need to topple tyranny, but not with another structure of tyranny.  We need to topple tyranny with Freedom.  We must bring this Freedom to the masses.

Truly the words of an idealist, I know!  But consider the ministry of John the Baptist in Luke 3.  Can we follow in John's footsteps and prepare the way for the Freedom that comes from Christ?

1-6 In the fifteenth year of the rule of Caesar Tiberius— ...—John, Zachariah’s son, out in the desert at the time, received a message from God. He went all through the country around the Jordan River preaching a baptism of life-change leading to forgiveness of sins, as described in the words of Isaiah the prophet:
Thunder in the desert!
“Prepare God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
Every ditch will be filled in,
Every bump smoothed out,
The detours straightened out,
All the ruts paved over.
Everyone will be there to see
The parade of God’s salvation.”

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