The words used to describe Christians today often bear no resemblance to the one word Jesus wanted his followers to be known for. What would it look like if, for one day, we got it right? What if we as Christians embodied this one word? In this message, Andy challenges us to change the name and reputation of Christianity by becoming a group of followers characterized by this one thing. LOVE.
Author Anne Rice (Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession) has a powerful personal story about her relationship with Jesus. She grew up in the church, but left it as a young adult. In her fifties, she rejected her decades-long atheism and returned to church…for ten years. And then she made this announcement on her Facebook page:
“Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”
Rice’s statement stirred controversy, but let’s be honest: the idea that Christians can be quarrelsome, hostile, and disputatious isn’t exactly surprising. How is it that people like Anne Rice—people devoted to Jesus—sometimes feel driven from Christianity? Why are there Christians on all sides of cultural and political issues, arguing with non-believers and fellow Christians alike? Is this really what Jesus intended for his disciples?
Great questions. Great discussion. Looking forward to more next week.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13