As we move into 2018 I was reflecting on how I could be more effective this year in our ministry, particularly around really modeling the actions and attitudes of Jesus in our fight to narrow the divide between those who have and those who do not. I came to the realization that all the facts and evidence may simply not be enough to change people’s minds. Doing so puts us in the same “doom loop” that has gripped most of our country, particularly in the political and religious realms.
To truly affect change we must go deeper into our very identities and find common ground as Americans, “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.” We have to help heal the divide that is so polarizing these days and find a way to bring people together.
Many of you know I have long held the value that we need to rise above name-calling and ad hominen attacks. We need to take the time to truly understand where other people are by listening first before talking. We need to differentiate between those who are truly evil vs. those who are merely deceived. The evil must be fought while the deceived must be gently persuaded over time to see the LIGHT! (pun clearly intended).
I’m so glad that I’ve never really pledged fealty to any particular political party in our country. My views do not so easily fit into these categories that everyone seems to want to lump people into – I find common ground on many issues amongst Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, the 99% and Independents alike. Ditto for my approach to Christianity – I’ve really tried hard not to publicly lean in too deep into the doctrines of any one particular branch of Christianity be it Catholicism vs Protestantism, Young Earth Creationism vs Old Earth Creationism, Reformed vs. Arminian, etc. What has served us particularly well to stay focused on ACTION has been two simple values:
- Love God
- Love others as we love ourselves
For those amongst us who haven’t yet discovered Jesus yet we simply ask one thing of you:
- “Restrain evil / do no harm”
which, as many of you know mirrors the Hippocratic Oath and models what the “Great Physician” Himself would do =)
I’ll close with the most useful, almost trite, but oh so true, phrase that will continue to be our motto into the future:
“What would Jesus do?”
Ask yourself that question on every decision you make and reflect on that. Only by saying/doing as He would, in the power of His Spirit, can we truly persuade others to change over the course of time.
Looking forward to working with all of you to figure out how we can gently persuade our country this year and in the years to come to pull together and help all of our countrymen and women rise together in a tighter fashion!