Saturday, January 31, 2015
God is everywhere... but we aren't.
After reading yet another abrasive Christian blog, ranting on rude Christian people who had been railing on another Christian blog that offended them, and then here come the follow up blogs to the original blog, (all on women’s clothing!!! OMG- stop the madness!!) I’m pondering again the many sided monster the body of Christ sometimes is. I guess it always has been, but now on the internet we get to see it displayed like never before.
There always have been debates and different points about life styles among Christ-followers all the way back to the time of the Apostles- but they weren't blogging their points of view on the internet with the churches of Asia minor reading them instantly, re-posting on Facebook, and then blogging responses and commenting vehemently back and forth.
More and more I’m becoming convinced it is important to step back from our forums, from our blog postings, from sharing about the path we are on, from making the direction God is moving us in lifestyle our doctrine de facto, and see what God is doing in someone who is moving in the opposite direction. Yes, it is possible.
Consider these blog debates on (primarily) first world life style issues:
One woman is convicted by the Holy Spirit that she’s been dressing too provocatively and decides to stop wearing leggings, while another woman who has spent years trying to get free from a legalistic dress code finally gets the freedom from the Holy Spirit to wear yoga pants to church.
One Christian support group on Facebook exists to support survivors of a legalistic cult who celebrate the escape from dress, eating and lifestyle behaviors that another Christian Facebook group (not a cult) exists to help its members develop.
One mother blogs about how she’s been convicted to get her space organized, and another shares how she’s learned to relax and not be so uptight about housework.
One mom posts a “get off your iPhone and pay attention to your kids” blog and then there follows a, “I am a good mom and actually this phone is helping me get stuff done while spending time with my kids,” response.
One person blogs about books and movies of all genres and what spiritual lessons they gained from them, and another encourages Christians be more discriminating in their media choices and stick with God’s Word for teaching and revelation.
Someone posts about finally getting motivated to exercise and lose weight and makes that a part of his or her spiritual journey, and someone else posts about getting free from an exercise and image obsession and learning to be comfortable with the body they have.
One person blogs about being convicted not to spend so much time with friends, and to have more serious quiet time with God, and someone else journals about getting set free from being too serious and realizing that it isn't nonspiritual to go out and have fun with friends.
And Christians keep weighing in their opinions on each other’s peripheral and random issues, very much based on what God is doing in THEIR lives at the time, and not considering that God could be taking someone else the opposite direction.
Consider for a minute that God is everywhere, on all sides of us.
He is with the recovering alcoholic who celebrates every day of not taking a sip, and also with the Christian who has come to believe it is not a sin to have wine at dinner with friends. He is with the mother who is blogging about child training and the importance of teaching manners, and also the mother who is blogging about accepting her children’s behavior and seeing beyond the external. He is with the young person being convicted to have a more disciplined lifestyle and with the older Christian convinced to lighten up.
He is with the woman convicted to be more be more modest in her dress, and the woman who has been set free from a legalistic dress code. He is with the parent convicted to put down her phone, and with the one set free to pick it up. He is with the single person who decides they won’t date and the one who decides they will. He is with the family blogging about getting healthier in their food choices and posting gluten free recipes, as well as the one posting pictures of sugar frosted cupcakes from their last birthday party.
I’m a blogger myself. I have opinions too, and I like to blog about them. I’m on a life-journey with the rest of humanity, and I like to write about that journey. Furthermore, I love finding blogs with like-minded people, moving in the same direction. It’s like a high five. Someone else ‘gets it’, someone else affirms my direction. But what about when I read a blog that reflects a place I was ten years ago and now have a different perspective on? It’s easy, for example, as I travel from supreme legalism toward grace, to judge blogs that extol things I’m moving away from. I can easily project that they must be legalistic if they do things I did when I was legalistic, but, it ain’t necessarily so. And even if it is, rarely will a blog debate change anyone’s mind. In fact it can quickly get very vitriolic and nasty with everyone firmly in their own point of view, and no one really hearing anyone else’s except through the filter of “you aren't doing the right thing because that’s not where I am now, or how I see it, and I know God is on my side ‘cause I have a good relationship with Him, and I’m well informed on this topic, so that means by default you need to be enlightened.”
Er, no, actually not. God is not limited by the same time period, culture, age, generation, lifestyle, doctrine, preference time space continuum that we are. Not at all. He is everywhere. We aren't.
So this one is for all the spiritual bloggers. Keep writing. Keep posting your journey. Keep walking the direction you feel God is leading you. Keep looking for like-minded people. But remember to be kind to others you meet going the other direction. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t bash them. Don’t counter blog their blogs. Just keep blogging your own. Nicely. The golden rule applies to the internet world too. Just sayin’.
Don’t bash others and end up bashing Him.
‘Cause God is everywhere, in lots of places that you aren't.