9/13/11

Black and White

I receive the Relevant Magazine weekly email and I really enjoy and appreciate the different approach they have in researching and interviewing for their magazine. If you haven't checked em out- I highly recommend it. Today I opened the email and something really caught my eye. Their article on "The Problem with Black and White Thinking" by Ed Gungor made me think again about how different members of the church body appoint themselves to being the religious police. That's exactly what it becomes- religion. Not relationship, not mentoring- it turns into having a holier than thou attitude and thinking you know the motives and intentions of someonelse's heart. Now granted some think that they are saving their brother or sister in Christ from damnation. There are certain guidelines the Bible has drawn out for us in approaching this, but most of the time is trying to be nosey and thinking you know whats best. It's living by the old testament law instead of by love and by grace. 

Here is a small excerpt from the article:
"A lot of people believe they have figured out exactly what each Christian should do and not do. Using a few proof-texts from Scripture (and lots of deduction) they tell us what to wear, who to vote for, what music to listen to, what words we can use and not use, how physical we can get in our dating relationships, what to eat, what kind of underwear to wear and whether or not we can have a beer and the occasional cigar. They have the world parsed out into neat absolute do’s and don’ts—of which they feel committed to keep the rest of us informed about. The world is black-and-white simple for them.

The problem is the world really isn't all that black and white—it's jammed with lots of grays and splashed with millions of colors."

I'm not condoning sin, but I'm also not condoning the religious spirit that doesn't allow you to enjoy anything in life lest you sin. What I am talking about is accountability and the biggie- taking responsibility for your actions. "Color is always more complex than black and white. When it comes to propagating truth and disciplining people into the Christian faith, most spiritual leaders prefer black-and-white simplicity and resist complexity. Complexity is too colorful. We prefer doling out black-and-white conclusions. Telling people what seems so much simpler and safer than telling them why. " Sure it's easier to tell someone not to go and sleep around instead of explaining to them the bond that God has created for couples (just one example).

This issue is so hard to navigate through, but that's exactly why people tend to avoid it. That's why there is black and white thinking. It's not easy to think in color and our own personal prejudices don't go down with out a fight. I grew up in an Assembly of God church that had a hard time trying to love people when they weren't following their dress code or listening to their radio station. They thought it was their job to tell everyone where they were going wrong.

We can put ourselves and our beliefs up on a pedestal but I don't think we are going to be wanting to do that for very long when it's our turn to be judged. I still have a hard time sometimes breaking out of that religious box to reach people. But something that always is on my mind is Christ didn't go around saying you have to wear certain clothes or talk a certain way for me to love you. He came to show us the truth, not to give us all the same buzz cut and make us all act like robots. Lord renew our thinking and our motives.

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