Prologue: Easter Sunday 2015. That was the last time my family and I attended church. When we left the church I was working at, we were warned that we were going to enter into a time of suffering, spiritually and relationally. One year later, our relationship with each other and Jesus has been stronger than when I started working at the church. During this time, we have had numerous people ask us where we are attending church now, which precedes how are we doing. This question (along with turning 30) has prompted me to think through many of my beliefs. By no means have I abandoned orthodoxy as some have expressed, but ten have evolved into their way into the rhythms of my life. They have come out of hours of discussions, contemplation, reading, and listening to men and women who help me become more whole. I will eventually unpack them on future blog posts, and yes we will be attending church again someday, but following Jesus means taking up our cross and following him, it does meant that before healing and restoration takes place, there will be a time of pain. If we’re honest with ourselves, nobody wants to drudge up to Golgotha with him, but we have to be crucified before we can be resurrected.
1. Christians should not be easily offended, because deep down inside we are as offensive as our pagan counterparts.
2. We ought to be quick to forgive, because we have been forgiven.
3. Be free to be ourselves and not take ourselves too serious, because we are accepted by God as we are.
4. Our actions should display love for each other, instead of simply saying it.
5. Our good news (gospel) is not a ticket to health, wealth, happiness, or heaven. It is an invitation to partake in the mystery that God dwelt, died, rose again, and will come again.
6. The love of God cannot be hoarded, conditional, but covers and binds up our pain and casts out our fears.
7. When we shine the light and love of Christ, it is less like a halogen, a flickering spark, or an angry mob, but more like a match igniting the darkness, bending down to wash each other’s feet.
8. The church is more than a well choreographed production, dysfunctional family meal, and a voting booth, but it is and always will be a beacon of beauty, justice, and evangelism.
9. Unity is not uniformity, but embracing diversity and doubt.
10. Jesus must be seen and experienced as more than a teacher, an afterthought, or simply a deity, but is Emmanuel, Rescuer, and Judge.