If You Wonder Why . . .

If you ever wonder why it is so difficult to find vibrant expressions of body life today, you have to look no further than the comments to my recent post about the presidential election. I would consider that most of the people who frequent my blog share a passion to know the reality of God’s love and to live in it fully. I didn’t expect everyone to agree with me, nor would I want them to. I wanted people to vote the conscience however that was informed in this election and celebrate the fact that others did as well.

Yet, on a topic as temporal as politics the emotions ran high in most of the 72 comments (and counting!) that were posted. Some included heavy judgments against others, and some felt judged by those who disagreed with them. I know I joked on the podcast about doing this post to “thin the herd,” but that was only in fun. I knew it would be provocative but I wanted to see how people would respond to it and to me. To be honest I was shocked at the scale of the response, not the diversity. I expected lots of people to see this election different than I did, but I was most saddened by the oft-repeated spirit that demanded others see the election as they saw it or have their Christianity or their intelligence questioned. Certainly every comment wasn’t like that, but enough were. And these are just the public comments. I’ve had many more private emails, some applauding what I wrote as they had voted similarly but were afraid to admit it, and some promising they’d never visit this site again because I was obviously a hypocrite or was dumb enough to be deceived by the Great Deceiver.

But this does express why the body of Christ is having trouble finding each other and living in his life together. Many see conformity on these kinds of issues as a requirement for fellowship and respect. On the one had, that’s just passion and I understand it. On another, it derives from a a mistaken worldview that everyone who is serious about Jesus will have the same conscience I have, and if they deviate from mine I have to set them straight or reject them. I’m going to call that what it is—incredibly immature spirituality. The apostles of the early church saw the individual conscience as the arena in which God makes his will known and that the larger community did not have the right to trump that conscience or marginalize a member because they saw it differently, even if you regard me as a ‘weaker brother’ for voting as I did. See Romans 14-15 or I Corinthians 8.

Every gathering of the body of Christ faces this issue, whether it be eight in a home group or hundreds in a larger gathering. If we all have to think the same politically, or even theologically on minor issues to share our brother and sisterhood, then someone has to decide what that standard is. That’s why many people think we have ‘leadership.’ And they would be wrong, because all that leads to is multiple groups who all gather with those who think just like them and reject those who don’t.

If the body of Christ is going to demonstrate herself today in the corporate majesty of her collaboration and cooperation then Jesus will have to be our only focus and loving others will be our motivation, not a demand for conformity. We can be honest in love and no one will get hurt. But we can’t be honest in judgment and hope to demonstrate anything to the world except how empty the cross is, or how irrelevant God’s power.

Jesus asked us to love as we follow him; he didn’t ask us to agree. If we have to agree to love, then what hope have we? If a group has to all think alike to have fellowship then they have pitched a tent at some stage of the journey and will not grow on to know him. In most groups I’ve known, conformity has been the goal. Someone needs to set the standard for the group and people either go along or go away. Neither leads to the reality of Christ expressed among his people.

So here is the problem today. Too many people think they alone are right and anyone who disagrees with them is a threat to their world. And it only takes one person like that in a group to destroy its ability to live, love and grow together. Until we have enough brothers and sisters that have a passion for truth that does not outrun their calling to love others, the body of Christ will continue to be fractured and impotent in the world. And they’ll have to have enough love to lovingly stand up to those who would be divisive among the family by demanding everyone think like they do.

But where we can differ in conscience and still love; where we celebrate the individual acting in accord with their conscience even if we disagree, then we’ll discover relationships that will demonstrate his glory in the earth. I’ve noticed this over my journey, those who are most settled in God’s truth feel no compulsion to conform others to it. They know truth has a power all its own and that a generosity of spirit will open people to it faster than bashing them with their opinion ever will.

How I yearn for the day that enough people understand that so that the body of Christ can gather not based on the false unity of human conformity, but on a love that is greater than all our disagreements and a humility of spirit that allows our differences to be discussed openly without others being loved.

Then we won’t need so-called leaders to police the peace or make us act like we are of one mind, because we will have Jesus’, in ever-increasing abundance. And then the world will see that Jesus was the gift of the Father and that they too can share in his glory.

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56 Comments
  1. Alex November 12, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Wayne,
    What saddens me is that the Church is so focused on the world, and not the Kingdom of God. In a conversation I had the other day I came to realize that God wants diversity. Even though He divided the tongues at Babel to undermine unified evil, He always works for greater good and I think He wanted the diverse cultures that it would create, too. The world tells us that there is strength in diversity, but that is not true. There has to be a unifying point, and in the church that point is the indwelling Spirit in all regenerated believers. Our focus should be on Christ in us, not the world system. I am encouraged by your willingness to share your views. Thank you for your ministry.

  2. Paul Fitzgerald November 12, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    I laughed to myself when I read your posting about the presidential election. Sure seemed to me to be a sure way to be a lightening rod in a thunderstorm and the likelihood of hail seemed pretty real. I did not feel led to disclose my vote to my community but applaud you following whatever leading you had in doing it. If some of them read this they will know that I also voted for Obama – they already suspect it since I have not joined in their gloom and doom reaction.

    Words attributed to Papa say it well in The Shack. What human suffering has not been linked to our attempts to control and exert independence through religion, politics and economics? The most dangerous situation is the merging of them into a single mixture that so that any question about one part of that unholy trinity cannot be asked without it being experienced as an attack on the others.

    I am particularly disappointed [yet not surprised] by the fear-mongering by some religious organizations that is such a blatant fund-raising strategy and to justify their continued existence to save us from the enemy.

    Thanks for taking the risk and exposing the grip of that unholy trinity in so many. Blessings.

  3. Toby November 12, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    So many of us are eagerly anticipating this transition out of religiosity and ritual into the riches of true relationship – this revealing of the Kingdom of God whereby they will know we are His by our love for one another, and allowing that love to be expressed freely to all. Thank you, Wayne, for being willing to point the way to this transition even though it brings opportunity for your own temporary discomfort inflicted by those who should know better. Love never fails.

  4. Alex November 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Wayne,
    What saddens me is that the Church is so focused on the world, and not the Kingdom of God. In a conversation I had the other day I came to realize that God wants diversity. Even though He divided the tongues at Babel to undermine unified evil, He always works for greater good and I think He wanted the diverse cultures that it would create, too. The world tells us that there is strength in diversity, but that is not true. There has to be a unifying point, and in the church that point is the indwelling Spirit in all regenerated believers. Our focus should be on Christ in us, not the world system. I am encouraged by your willingness to share your views. Thank you for your ministry.

  5. Paul Fitzgerald November 12, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I laughed to myself when I read your posting about the presidential election. Sure seemed to me to be a sure way to be a lightening rod in a thunderstorm and the likelihood of hail seemed pretty real. I did not feel led to disclose my vote to my community but applaud you following whatever leading you had in doing it. If some of them read this they will know that I also voted for Obama – they already suspect it since I have not joined in their gloom and doom reaction.

    Words attributed to Papa say it well in The Shack. What human suffering has not been linked to our attempts to control and exert independence through religion, politics and economics? The most dangerous situation is the merging of them into a single mixture that so that any question about one part of that unholy trinity cannot be asked without it being experienced as an attack on the others.

    I am particularly disappointed [yet not surprised] by the fear-mongering by some religious organizations that is such a blatant fund-raising strategy and to justify their continued existence to save us from the enemy.

    Thanks for taking the risk and exposing the grip of that unholy trinity in so many. Blessings.

  6. Toby November 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    So many of us are eagerly anticipating this transition out of religiosity and ritual into the riches of true relationship – this revealing of the Kingdom of God whereby they will know we are His by our love for one another, and allowing that love to be expressed freely to all. Thank you, Wayne, for being willing to point the way to this transition even though it brings opportunity for your own temporary discomfort inflicted by those who should know better. Love never fails.

  7. Rudolf Roos November 13, 2008 at 1:39 am

    “Jesus asked us to love as we follow him; he didn’t ask us to agree.”

    What? That’s an heretical idea Wayne! Get ready for 70 more comments :-).

    “So here is the problem today. Too many people think they alone are right and anyone who disagrees with them is a threat to their world.”

    Well… Can’t everybody just think like me? Than we’ll all be right! That would be great :-).

  8. Rudolf Roos November 13, 2008 at 4:39 am

    “Jesus asked us to love as we follow him; he didn’t ask us to agree.”

    What? That’s an heretical idea Wayne! Get ready for 70 more comments :-).

    “So here is the problem today. Too many people think they alone are right and anyone who disagrees with them is a threat to their world.”

    Well… Can’t everybody just think like me? Than we’ll all be right! That would be great :-).

  9. richard November 13, 2008 at 4:39 am

    well said my friend -richard

  10. Pamela November 13, 2008 at 5:39 am

    I want to state up front that I mean no harm to anyone. I decided to quit reading the comments on the post referenced here because frankly I was afraid of what I might see after I posted. I regretted responding frankly. If anyone took offense at anything I stated on the previous post please accept my sincere apologies.

    I do have a sincere question. As we learn from the Father we are being conformed to His image through the Holy Spirit. This is stated in Rom 8:29. Does that not imply that there should be some consistency or standard that we should see in all followers of Christ? I can understand that we may not express that in the same way but God is not confused. He is one way as vast as God is. I also understand that we are all growing in revelation of Him as we commune with Him through Christ. I agree that we should always be loving. However is it wrong to want others to be like Him? Where is the line? There is a time for iron to sharpen iron in relationships. That is not necessarily an evil attempt to force ideas and concepts on other people. There is right and wrong. If not we would not have the Bible as our guide or plumb-line.

    I think the debate about Obama came because he has proposed many unrighteous stands if you compare them to the Bible, not my opinion. Christ did speak out against unrighteousness in the midst of loving the people. The only vote that I can think of in the word was a vote against what God wanted for His people where they demanded a king instead of having God lead them through judges that He picked. We are wading through a process that is not clearly defined in scripture as I believe Wayne stated. How do Christians respond to this? I think this is the issue that Wayne tried to address in his previous post. I and many sincerely tried to walk out this process during this election season.

    I guess I sincerely question the aversion of conforming when it comes to a walk of a Christian. We all should be looking more like Him. There is room for disagreement and loving in the midst of that. However there should be no disagreement in things that are clearly stated in the word and expressed through the Holy Spirit. I guess I do not know where the line is.

    I want to state that I am not trying to change anyone. That is impossible. Only Christ truly transforms a person. I guess Im trying to determine how we as a body walk from here. This election has revealed a serious breech.

    Any sincere input is appreciated.

  11. Chet November 13, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Wayne,

    That particular blog about the election, IMHO, revealed that some folks (ONLY a small portion you can count on one hand) don’t really know how to communicate as ADULTS. Jesus said to “humble ourselves as little children”. He didn’t say “act immature like children”. When we speak to each other as ADULTS, that simply means, as Paul noted, we :”put away childish things”. But, politics sadly CRAVES on the immature rantings out of our fears and insecurities. But, we have hope ithat’s found in I Timothy 2

    1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

    2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

    3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

    4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

    5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

    May we MATURE in Christ and Love as He First loved us.

    Chet

  12. Theresa November 13, 2008 at 7:26 am

    Ahhhh. Once again, Wayne. You really blessed me. You are such a breath of fresh air…

  13. richard November 13, 2008 at 7:39 am

    well said my friend -richard

  14. Kevin November 13, 2008 at 8:04 am

    “But where we can differ in conscience and still love; where we celebrate the individual acting in accord with their conscience even if we disagree, then we’ll discover relationships that will demonstrate his glory in the earth.”

    Isn’t this what being family is all about? I have blood family and we have lots of differences. None of my immediate family are Christ followers. Some of my extended family are. We can argue, disagree, call each other knuckleheads, try to persuade each other of our own points of view, etc. But one thing we always know is we are family. We would give the shirt off our back for each other. And God forbid if anyone else try to pit one of us against the other, or try to harm of us.

    Another thought I had, is the intensity which we put into our discussions is something that is “earned” in a sense. For instance, if I know someone very well, they know I am committed to them, and we have a history, I have a lot of allowance in how we communicate. If I don’t know someone, I think general civility is in order. Sure I can persuade and talk about the issues, but I think it is inappropriate to use familiar jesting or speak in judgmental language.

    Example:

    I can call my brother a “moron” in love for voting for Obama. It is acceptable to him because he knows that I’m not defining him by that and understands its in reference to his vote. He also knows, regardless of how he voted, if he needed someone to carry his load for a mile or two, I’d be first in line.

    But if someone on the Internet who doesn’t even know my brother calls him a “moron” because he voted for Obama, I’ll read him the riot act. He has no right to do that. He doesn’t even know my brother. And when the chips are down and my brother needs help, the Internet poster won’t even know there is a line.

    Make sense?

    – Kevin

  15. Chet November 13, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Pamela,

    I understand the sincerity of your questions. However, we must remember that God’s will MUST be done. And that it is God’s Call as to who gets the opportunity to walk in of His truths. There’s nothing wrong with having the desire to see others grow in His Love. But, I say again, that is His Call.
    As we read in John 6

    44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

    Jesus says clearly that NO man can come to Him unless God DRAWS them to Jesus. The election can make you go hmmmm trying to figure it all out. My suggestion to you is this dear sister. DON’T. For we read the following scriptures

    In Isaiah 55

    8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    His ways and thoughts are SPIRITUALLY discerned. Only HE can reveal them to us.

    And this in Revelation 3 regarding the Laodician Church

    17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

    18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

    19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

    In Hebrews 12

    5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

    6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

    11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

    Those of us who have been drawn to Him are subject to His Chastenings and scourgings. If you’ve been through one, you know it ain’t fun.

    In 1 corinthians 1

    26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

    27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

    29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

    Once God has brought us to dispise coveting the things OF this world, we won’t grow any closer to Him. Like a line in Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes Of the Broken Hearted” “….always moving, but going nowhere.

    I know that’s probably more than you asked for, and sorry for rambling. To paraphrase Wayne and Dave Coleman wrote in the Jake book: “let God’s love change YOU first, then He’ll take it from there.

    God be with you
    Chet

  16. kent November 13, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Wayne, apparently Gregg Boyd’s experience with his “day after the election blog post” was similar to yours. He writes about it here:

    http://www.gregboyd.org/blog/the-heresy-of-an-unreconciled-church/

  17. Pamela November 13, 2008 at 8:39 am

    I want to state up front that I mean no harm to anyone. I decided to quit reading the comments on the post referenced here because frankly I was afraid of what I might see after I posted. I regretted responding frankly. If anyone took offense at anything I stated on the previous post please accept my sincere apologies.

    I do have a sincere question. As we learn from the Father we are being conformed to His image through the Holy Spirit. This is stated in Rom 8:29. Does that not imply that there should be some consistency or standard that we should see in all followers of Christ? I can understand that we may not express that in the same way but God is not confused. He is one way as vast as God is. I also understand that we are all growing in revelation of Him as we commune with Him through Christ. I agree that we should always be loving. However is it wrong to want others to be like Him? Where is the line? There is a time for iron to sharpen iron in relationships. That is not necessarily an evil attempt to force ideas and concepts on other people. There is right and wrong. If not we would not have the Bible as our guide or plumb-line.

    I think the debate about Obama came because he has proposed many unrighteous stands if you compare them to the Bible, not my opinion. Christ did speak out against unrighteousness in the midst of loving the people. The only vote that I can think of in the word was a vote against what God wanted for His people where they demanded a king instead of having God lead them through judges that He picked. We are wading through a process that is not clearly defined in scripture as I believe Wayne stated. How do Christians respond to this? I think this is the issue that Wayne tried to address in his previous post. I and many sincerely tried to walk out this process during this election season.

    I guess I sincerely question the aversion of conforming when it comes to a walk of a Christian. We all should be looking more like Him. There is room for disagreement and loving in the midst of that. However there should be no disagreement in things that are clearly stated in the word and expressed through the Holy Spirit. I guess I do not know where the line is.

    I want to state that I am not trying to change anyone. That is impossible. Only Christ truly transforms a person. I guess Im trying to determine how we as a body walk from here. This election has revealed a serious breech.

    Any sincere input is appreciated.

  18. Chet November 13, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Wayne,

    That particular blog about the election, IMHO, revealed that some folks (ONLY a small portion you can count on one hand) don’t really know how to communicate as ADULTS. Jesus said to “humble ourselves as little children”. He didn’t say “act immature like children”. When we speak to each other as ADULTS, that simply means, as Paul noted, we :”put away childish things”. But, politics sadly CRAVES on the immature rantings out of our fears and insecurities. But, we have hope ithat’s found in I Timothy 2

    1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

    2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

    3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

    4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

    5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

    May we MATURE in Christ and Love as He First loved us.

    Chet

  19. Theresa November 13, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Ahhhh. Once again, Wayne. You really blessed me. You are such a breath of fresh air…

  20. Kevin November 13, 2008 at 11:04 am

    “But where we can differ in conscience and still love; where we celebrate the individual acting in accord with their conscience even if we disagree, then we’ll discover relationships that will demonstrate his glory in the earth.”

    Isn’t this what being family is all about? I have blood family and we have lots of differences. None of my immediate family are Christ followers. Some of my extended family are. We can argue, disagree, call each other knuckleheads, try to persuade each other of our own points of view, etc. But one thing we always know is we are family. We would give the shirt off our back for each other. And God forbid if anyone else try to pit one of us against the other, or try to harm of us.

    Another thought I had, is the intensity which we put into our discussions is something that is “earned” in a sense. For instance, if I know someone very well, they know I am committed to them, and we have a history, I have a lot of allowance in how we communicate. If I don’t know someone, I think general civility is in order. Sure I can persuade and talk about the issues, but I think it is inappropriate to use familiar jesting or speak in judgmental language.

    Example:

    I can call my brother a “moron” in love for voting for Obama. It is acceptable to him because he knows that I’m not defining him by that and understands its in reference to his vote. He also knows, regardless of how he voted, if he needed someone to carry his load for a mile or two, I’d be first in line.

    But if someone on the Internet who doesn’t even know my brother calls him a “moron” because he voted for Obama, I’ll read him the riot act. He has no right to do that. He doesn’t even know my brother. And when the chips are down and my brother needs help, the Internet poster won’t even know there is a line.

    Make sense?

    – Kevin

  21. Chet November 13, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Pamela,

    I understand the sincerity of your questions. However, we must remember that God’s will MUST be done. And that it is God’s Call as to who gets the opportunity to walk in of His truths. There’s nothing wrong with having the desire to see others grow in His Love. But, I say again, that is His Call.
    As we read in John 6

    44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

    Jesus says clearly that NO man can come to Him unless God DRAWS them to Jesus. The election can make you go hmmmm trying to figure it all out. My suggestion to you is this dear sister. DON’T. For we read the following scriptures

    In Isaiah 55

    8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    His ways and thoughts are SPIRITUALLY discerned. Only HE can reveal them to us.

    And this in Revelation 3 regarding the Laodician Church

    17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

    18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

    19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

    In Hebrews 12

    5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

    6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

    11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

    Those of us who have been drawn to Him are subject to His Chastenings and scourgings. If you’ve been through one, you know it ain’t fun.

    In 1 corinthians 1

    26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

    27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

    29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

    Once God has brought us to dispise coveting the things OF this world, we won’t grow any closer to Him. Like a line in Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes Of the Broken Hearted” “….always moving, but going nowhere.

    I know that’s probably more than you asked for, and sorry for rambling. To paraphrase Wayne and Dave Coleman wrote in the Jake book: “let God’s love change YOU first, then He’ll take it from there.

    God be with you
    Chet

  22. kent November 13, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Wayne, apparently Gregg Boyd’s experience with his “day after the election blog post” was similar to yours. He writes about it here:

    http://www.gregboyd.org/blog/the-heresy-of-an-unreconciled-church/

  23. Robin Pearson November 13, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Dear Pamela,

    I did appreciate your point of view when I read your post on that other thread. It’s reasonable for people to disagree on these types of issues, based on their preferred political and doctrinal leanings. And we could each make a good case for our own opinions. But if we define our fellowship based on that debate, we’re not going to grow any closer relationally.

    The standards we set based on our understanding and interpretations of the Bible aren’t really ever going to be absolute or unifying, because ultimately that sort of knowledge is really subjective. That’s why we have so many denominations, each one based on differing opinions about what the Bible actually says and how we should apply it.

    So we have to define our standards of Christianity in terms we all can agree on. I personally feel that the character of godly love (1 Cor 13), the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians), and trust overcoming fear (perfect love drives out fear) are three true essential characteristics that indicate a vital relationship with Jesus. Because these are the essentials of His character. And no reasonable person could really dispute that these essentials are good and true. Who’s going to argue with patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, etc? We may not show these characteristics as consistently as we’d like, and we know others have the same struggles, so of course we have to cut each other a lot of slack in meeting these standards. But if we all agree that these are the goals we share, we can also encourage one another with a shared vision.

    That’s my take on it. People have differing background information, differing perspectives and biases based on all kinds of diverse life experiences. So they’ll always have differences of opinions because of those factors. But love transcends all that. Paul wrote, “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies,” and John said, “Whoever loves is born of God.”

    It would simplify our fellowship if we base it more on these three essentials (godly love, the fruit of the Spirit, and trust overcoming fear) than we do on debatable points of doctrine.

    I hope this is helpful & encouraging,

    Robin

  24. Robin Pearson November 13, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    An example in reality:

    The comments boards on several news sites had all sorts of postings before the election. If I, favoring Obama, were reading a thread with a gracious and respectful McCain supporter vs. an Obama supporter who happened to be nasty and name-calling, I would feel the McCain supporter is more likely to be a mature Christian – not because I agreed with their political convictions or Biblical interpretations, but because I saw in their words a Christlike attitude.

    I read a lot of political threads, and I have to say there were plenty of rude people advocating for both candidates, but in my estimate, it was not an evenly balanced percentage. My bias could have something to do with that perception, but still, I saw way too much venom and belittling attitudes posted in the name of “Biblical” voting. Of course, there were a lot of civil postings on both sides, too. It was always lovely to see someone claiming Christ and backing up that claim with a gracious attitude.

    My inbox gave even more alarming evidence of the need for Christians to major in the “three essentials.” I’m on both left & right mailing lists, and my Dem. friend makes sure I don’t miss anything. There was no comparison there – I saw virtually no smears or unsubstantiated accusations against John McCain. It made me terribly sad to see my Christian friends and relatives mass-mailing outright lies that Snopes.com and FactCheck.org had clearly debunked. The father of lies must have taken perverse pleasure in using God’s people as agents of slander and character assassination. It is an act of Christian charity to fact-check before hitting the “send” button.

    We’re going to have differing views, but I feel we should all strive to express those views with sincere gentleness and respect, particularly in public communications. Wayne and Brad really exemplify this in their latest podcast, which I highly recommend: http://thegodjourney.com/wordpress/2008/11/07/reality-always-wins/

    It’s inspiring to see in that podcast that it is possible to have two mature believers who disagree. And it’s exciting to see (as it happened in Wayne’s and Brad’s conversation) that love can lead us to find our common ground.

    Grace & peace,
    Robin

  25. Robin Pearson November 13, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Dear Pamela,

    I did appreciate your point of view when I read your post on that other thread. It’s reasonable for people to disagree on these types of issues, based on their preferred political and doctrinal leanings. And we could each make a good case for our own opinions. But if we define our fellowship based on that debate, we’re not going to grow any closer relationally.

    The standards we set based on our understanding and interpretations of the Bible aren’t really ever going to be absolute or unifying, because ultimately that sort of knowledge is really subjective. That’s why we have so many denominations, each one based on differing opinions about what the Bible actually says and how we should apply it.

    So we have to define our standards of Christianity in terms we all can agree on. I personally feel that the character of godly love (1 Cor 13), the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians), and trust overcoming fear (perfect love drives out fear) are three true essential characteristics that indicate a vital relationship with Jesus. Because these are the essentials of His character. And no reasonable person could really dispute that these essentials are good and true. Who’s going to argue with patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, etc? We may not show these characteristics as consistently as we’d like, and we know others have the same struggles, so of course we have to cut each other a lot of slack in meeting these standards. But if we all agree that these are the goals we share, we can also encourage one another with a shared vision.

    That’s my take on it. People have differing background information, differing perspectives and biases based on all kinds of diverse life experiences. So they’ll always have differences of opinions because of those factors. But love transcends all that. Paul wrote, “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies,” and John said, “Whoever loves is born of God.”

    It would simplify our fellowship if we base it more on these three essentials (godly love, the fruit of the Spirit, and trust overcoming fear) than we do on debatable points of doctrine.

    I hope this is helpful & encouraging,

    Robin

  26. Robin Pearson November 14, 2008 at 12:11 am

    An example in reality:

    The comments boards on several news sites had all sorts of postings before the election. If I, favoring Obama, were reading a thread with a gracious and respectful McCain supporter vs. an Obama supporter who happened to be nasty and name-calling, I would feel the McCain supporter is more likely to be a mature Christian – not because I agreed with their political convictions or Biblical interpretations, but because I saw in their words a Christlike attitude.

    I read a lot of political threads, and I have to say there were plenty of rude people advocating for both candidates, but in my estimate, it was not an evenly balanced percentage. My bias could have something to do with that perception, but still, I saw way too much venom and belittling attitudes posted in the name of “Biblical” voting. Of course, there were a lot of civil postings on both sides, too. It was always lovely to see someone claiming Christ and backing up that claim with a gracious attitude.

    My inbox gave even more alarming evidence of the need for Christians to major in the “three essentials.” I’m on both left & right mailing lists, and my Dem. friend makes sure I don’t miss anything. There was no comparison there – I saw virtually no smears or unsubstantiated accusations against John McCain. It made me terribly sad to see my Christian friends and relatives mass-mailing outright lies that Snopes.com and FactCheck.org had clearly debunked. The father of lies must have taken perverse pleasure in using God’s people as agents of slander and character assassination. It is an act of Christian charity to fact-check before hitting the “send” button.

    We’re going to have differing views, but I feel we should all strive to express those views with sincere gentleness and respect, particularly in public communications. Wayne and Brad really exemplify this in their latest podcast, which I highly recommend: http://thegodjourney.com/wordpress/2008/11/07/reality-always-wins/

    It’s inspiring to see in that podcast that it is possible to have two mature believers who disagree. And it’s exciting to see (as it happened in Wayne’s and Brad’s conversation) that love can lead us to find our common ground.

    Grace & peace,
    Robin

  27. Benjamin Graber November 14, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I really appreciate this post. It seems to me that we as believers are too good at pushing others to conform to our opinions instead of following Christ. Do we really, honestly believe we can lead people to Father better than the Holy Spirit can?

    I didn’t vote for Obama, but my conscience didn’t let me vote for McCain either. I voted for a third party candidate, because I thought that candidate was the right man for the job. But many Christians consider that almost as bad as a vote for Obama, because you’re “taking away” votes for McCain. I say follow your conscience and let Father do what He will…

  28. John November 14, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Here, here, Wayne. Great post. Thank you for letting God use you to help others see more of Him.

  29. Benjamin Graber November 14, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I really appreciate this post. It seems to me that we as believers are too good at pushing others to conform to our opinions instead of following Christ. Do we really, honestly believe we can lead people to Father better than the Holy Spirit can?

    I didn’t vote for Obama, but my conscience didn’t let me vote for McCain either. I voted for a third party candidate, because I thought that candidate was the right man for the job. But many Christians consider that almost as bad as a vote for Obama, because you’re “taking away” votes for McCain. I say follow your conscience and let Father do what He will…

  30. Brent November 14, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Wayne, why can’t you just accept that you’re a horrible, condemned sinner under the control of Satan, and that you’re going straight to hell?! 😉

    But seriously, As I said on the other thread, I disagree with you. But I agree that people are being immature in this. I think Christians on both sides of the discussion tend to honestly think the Kingdom will somehow be limited or helped by who gets elected.

    I have been reading Hague’s biography of William Wilberforce, and one of the interesting things about it is that when God decided to end the slave trade, He first convinced the Christian Church, and they convinced the rest of the world. My point? If God decides to accomplish something, we shouldn’t think that somehow the world can resist the change He wishes to bring merely by electing the wrong people. Jesus’s throne is above the earth, and the White House is his footstool.

    Chuck Colson was a politician in the Nixon Administration who was convicted in the Watergate scandal. In prison he met Jesus. I think he said it best:

    “Where is the hope? I meet millions of people who feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws we pass, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that’s where our hope is in this country. And that’s where our hope is in life.”

  31. John November 14, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Here, here, Wayne. Great post. Thank you for letting God use you to help others see more of Him.

  32. Brent November 14, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Wayne, why can’t you just accept that you’re a horrible, condemned sinner under the control of Satan, and that you’re going straight to hell?! 😉

    But seriously, As I said on the other thread, I disagree with you. But I agree that people are being immature in this. I think Christians on both sides of the discussion tend to honestly think the Kingdom will somehow be limited or helped by who gets elected.

    I have been reading Hague’s biography of William Wilberforce, and one of the interesting things about it is that when God decided to end the slave trade, He first convinced the Christian Church, and they convinced the rest of the world. My point? If God decides to accomplish something, we shouldn’t think that somehow the world can resist the change He wishes to bring merely by electing the wrong people. Jesus’s throne is above the earth, and the White House is his footstool.

    Chuck Colson was a politician in the Nixon Administration who was convicted in the Watergate scandal. In prison he met Jesus. I think he said it best:

    “Where is the hope? I meet millions of people who feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws we pass, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that’s where our hope is in this country. And that’s where our hope is in life.”

  33. Dave A November 14, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    And the people said, “AMEN!”

    Wonderfully said, Wayne.

  34. Dave A November 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    And the people said, “AMEN!”

    Wonderfully said, Wayne.

  35. Larry November 15, 2008 at 2:53 am

    I see wisdom in your original post Wayne,
    I felt it necessary to vote for McCain, but not because some radio personality or pastor prompted me to. it was more in line with what my convictions are on several levels. I pray the best for Obama and all the people about to attempt to take office in this historic time. I am saddened by the division in the body of Christ about all this, but we should be happy that we do not have to come to arms as with Christians on both sides in the civil war. It has been a mystery to me how brother could feel so convicted about issues to actually kill another beleiver back then. I also am glad that we by God’s grace, still can transfer such power without a bloodbath.

  36. Silvio from Switzerland November 15, 2008 at 2:55 am

    So true, Wayne. And I was just thinking (yes, that happens to me too, very seldomly) that what you said in your last post, you find the same patern in the secular world. And that this patern is in the christians people. Example, when the US envaded Irak, you were a traitor if you’d disagree with this. And it’s so true, pastors even say it, that you have to find a “church” where you be at ease, meaning where you can be with people that have the same “vision” – i.e the same thoughts and views etc… The proplem is – and I say that for myself fisrt – is that we were NEVER taught to have different opinions and to accept that. I was never taght, and it is difficult to change this way of thinking. Cause if you are not taught that in church or in your family, the only way to respond to different opinions is to yell and – as ew say in French – to shoot down the planes in flames” so that our opinions won’t be questioned.
    My 2c of a contribution, and excuse my poor English.

  37. Larry November 15, 2008 at 5:53 am

    I see wisdom in your original post Wayne,
    I felt it necessary to vote for McCain, but not because some radio personality or pastor prompted me to. it was more in line with what my convictions are on several levels. I pray the best for Obama and all the people about to attempt to take office in this historic time. I am saddened by the division in the body of Christ about all this, but we should be happy that we do not have to come to arms as with Christians on both sides in the civil war. It has been a mystery to me how brother could feel so convicted about issues to actually kill another beleiver back then. I also am glad that we by God’s grace, still can transfer such power without a bloodbath.

  38. Silvio from Switzerland November 15, 2008 at 5:55 am

    So true, Wayne. And I was just thinking (yes, that happens to me too, very seldomly) that what you said in your last post, you find the same patern in the secular world. And that this patern is in the christians people. Example, when the US envaded Irak, you were a traitor if you’d disagree with this. And it’s so true, pastors even say it, that you have to find a “church” where you be at ease, meaning where you can be with people that have the same “vision” – i.e the same thoughts and views etc… The proplem is – and I say that for myself fisrt – is that we were NEVER taught to have different opinions and to accept that. I was never taght, and it is difficult to change this way of thinking. Cause if you are not taught that in church or in your family, the only way to respond to different opinions is to yell and – as ew say in French – to shoot down the planes in flames” so that our opinions won’t be questioned.
    My 2c of a contribution, and excuse my poor English.

  39. Rich November 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

    I am cynical and critical.

    When I hear talk about the church being divided and it’s people not getting along, are they talking about the physical systems and organizations they can see with their eyes and the people who claim to be part of them? Do they still think Christianity is the Kingdom of God talked about in scripture? Yes, Christianity is divided, chopped up, boxed up, etc…it will always be that way…so will Islam and every other religion that attempts to manifest God on earth. Unless the Lord builds the house we labor in vain trying to build anything.

    After 30 years in organized religion and seeing the lousy and paltry amount of fruit it produces (also evidenced in so many of these blogs), I have become convinced that Christianity is not the kingdom of God. If Christianity is not the kingdom, yet the ‘gates of hell cannot prevail against the kingdom’, then the Kingdom must still be alive and well…so where is it? Is there still a king? Are we the Kings’ people because we say with our mouths that we are? Or are we the Kings’ people because we do what He wants us to do?

    Aren’t all those who obey Him part of the Kingdom? Won’t there be people who are surprised on that Great Day when He says “Welcome in, I was naked and you clothed me, hungry and you fed me….” Some will be pleasantly surprised, others not so pleasant. Read the story, it sounds like the righteous are surprised to be invited in…they aren’t the ones who thought they should be let in.

    Christians talk a lot about God and His kingdom, but I no longer believe they are the Kingdom of God…just another religion claiming to be. Can’t we be loyal to the King instead of loyal to a religion that talks about Him?

  40. John Hard November 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Rich asks a great question which Jesus Himself answered. “…the Kingdom must still be alive and well…so where is it” Jesus’ answer was, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, `Look, here it is!´ or, `There it is!´ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst (within…in your heart).”

    The Kingdom (defined as a royal dominion…wherever a King has rulership) is wherever Jesus has rulership over our hearts. It is a rulership of love and relationship. It has absolutely nothing to do with any institution (religious or political), even though it can exist inside every institution (wherever His people exist).

    We have confused Kingdom with so many things, but in essence, it is very simple. Everything Jesus taught focused on this simple truth. It’s about a loving relationship. Nothing more and nothing less. Everything else flows out of that. And if that is not the base of what is flowing, you need to question the flow.

  41. Rich November 15, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I am cynical and critical.

    When I hear talk about the church being divided and it’s people not getting along, are they talking about the physical systems and organizations they can see with their eyes and the people who claim to be part of them? Do they still think Christianity is the Kingdom of God talked about in scripture? Yes, Christianity is divided, chopped up, boxed up, etc…it will always be that way…so will Islam and every other religion that attempts to manifest God on earth. Unless the Lord builds the house we labor in vain trying to build anything.

    After 30 years in organized religion and seeing the lousy and paltry amount of fruit it produces (also evidenced in so many of these blogs), I have become convinced that Christianity is not the kingdom of God. If Christianity is not the kingdom, yet the ‘gates of hell cannot prevail against the kingdom’, then the Kingdom must still be alive and well…so where is it? Is there still a king? Are we the Kings’ people because we say with our mouths that we are? Or are we the Kings’ people because we do what He wants us to do?

    Aren’t all those who obey Him part of the Kingdom? Won’t there be people who are surprised on that Great Day when He says “Welcome in, I was naked and you clothed me, hungry and you fed me….” Some will be pleasantly surprised, others not so pleasant. Read the story, it sounds like the righteous are surprised to be invited in…they aren’t the ones who thought they should be let in.

    Christians talk a lot about God and His kingdom, but I no longer believe they are the Kingdom of God…just another religion claiming to be. Can’t we be loyal to the King instead of loyal to a religion that talks about Him?

  42. Kari November 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    “Christ in me, my hope of glory”… just reminds me that we are not all at the same level in our relationship with Father. And because of that we have the responsibility to love and tolerate those who don’t see things the way we do. Everyone is on their own journey and it’s not our duty to judge where someone else is at. “We are in this world but not of it” Let’s live loved and spread that to those around us no matter what the differences are! It’s easy to love the lovable, but what about those who aren’t? Love them anyway!

  43. John Hard November 15, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Rich asks a great question which Jesus Himself answered. “…the Kingdom must still be alive and well…so where is it” Jesus’ answer was, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, `Look, here it is!´ or, `There it is!´ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst (within…in your heart).”

    The Kingdom (defined as a royal dominion…wherever a King has rulership) is wherever Jesus has rulership over our hearts. It is a rulership of love and relationship. It has absolutely nothing to do with any institution (religious or political), even though it can exist inside every institution (wherever His people exist).

    We have confused Kingdom with so many things, but in essence, it is very simple. Everything Jesus taught focused on this simple truth. It’s about a loving relationship. Nothing more and nothing less. Everything else flows out of that. And if that is not the base of what is flowing, you need to question the flow.

  44. Kari November 15, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    “Christ in me, my hope of glory”… just reminds me that we are not all at the same level in our relationship with Father. And because of that we have the responsibility to love and tolerate those who don’t see things the way we do. Everyone is on their own journey and it’s not our duty to judge where someone else is at. “We are in this world but not of it” Let’s live loved and spread that to those around us no matter what the differences are! It’s easy to love the lovable, but what about those who aren’t? Love them anyway!

  45. David William Edwards November 15, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    The more I wander along this journey I’ve realized that thoughtful, prayerful believers can have diametrically differing positions. I’ve discovered that in most cases their opinions are not mere whims, but often derived from years of intense study and contemplation. How can we arrogantly say that our opinions are any more “right”? What sheer pomposity! How many of us have changed views over the years, but disallow that grace in those we call the “family of God.”

    We need to hold our opinions lightly and the hem of His garment tightly.

    David William Edwards

  46. David William Edwards November 15, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    The more I wander along this journey I’ve realized that thoughtful, prayerful believers can have diametrically differing positions. I’ve discovered that in most cases their opinions are not mere whims, but often derived from years of intense study and contemplation. How can we arrogantly say that our opinions are any more “right”? What sheer pomposity! How many of us have changed views over the years, but disallow that grace in those we call the “family of God.”

    We need to hold our opinions lightly and the hem of His garment tightly.

    David William Edwards

  47. David Grant November 16, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    This is a great post. One of the things it cuts into is how we hear Father. That same strong feeling that would have been at the heart of making this election decision is potentially the same one that should guide us to love others. In all of these things we might/should say we have been led by the Spirit. And yet with opposite conclusions. I don’t have an answer to this. Hopefully someone can help with this question/observation.

  48. David Grant November 16, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    This is a great post. One of the things it cuts into is how we hear Father. That same strong feeling that would have been at the heart of making this election decision is potentially the same one that should guide us to love others. In all of these things we might/should say we have been led by the Spirit. And yet with opposite conclusions. I don’t have an answer to this. Hopefully someone can help with this question/observation.

  49. Mike Rea November 17, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Excellent post!

    Good illustration is the diversity of the 12 disciples. Can you imagine the campfire conversations going on between Simon the Zealot (fierce Jewish patriot longing for a hostile defeat of the Romans) and Matthew (the Jewish “traitor” who collected taxes for the Romans)?

  50. Mike Rea November 17, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Excellent post!

    Good illustration is the diversity of the 12 disciples. Can you imagine the campfire conversations going on between Simon the Zealot (fierce Jewish patriot longing for a hostile defeat of the Romans) and Matthew (the Jewish “traitor” who collected taxes for the Romans)?

  51. Brent November 18, 2008 at 7:10 am

    “Can you imagine the campfire conversations going on between Simon the Zealot (fierce Jewish patriot longing for a hostile defeat of the Romans) and Matthew (the Jewish “traitor” who collected taxes for the Romans)?”

    HAHAHAHA! I never thought of that!

  52. Brent November 18, 2008 at 10:10 am

    “Can you imagine the campfire conversations going on between Simon the Zealot (fierce Jewish patriot longing for a hostile defeat of the Romans) and Matthew (the Jewish “traitor” who collected taxes for the Romans)?”

    HAHAHAHA! I never thought of that!

  53. j November 18, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I don’t think Christ would have even been a registered voter 🙂

  54. j November 19, 2008 at 12:34 am

    I don’t think Christ would have even been a registered voter 🙂

  55. Jill November 21, 2008 at 4:05 am

    I am just coming out of years in the institutional church. I still have family who are very right wing, conservative fundamentalists. It’s interesting to see this election from their point of view because it was mine for so long. My mother even said ‘I don’t see how anyone who’s a Christian could vote for Obama. 🙂 I voted for McCain, not because I liked him but, as Brad put it on the podcast, I couldn’t vote for Obama’s social agenda. My husband voted for Obama for the same reasons Wayne did. Our votes are in CA so either way, they really didn’t matter much in the end. 🙂
    I am able to see now like I haven’t in the past, the arrogance we can have believing that ‘we know God’s will’ in a matter. That we have a corner on “God’s truth”. I have a lot in my head that I am unlearning and relearning. I feel like I have a lot that is in flux in my head. But I think that, one of the reasons why we can be so polarized on issues like these is that we are putting too much hope and dependence on our national government and our elected leaders. We see ourselves as ‘God’s people’ and our nation as ‘God’s country’ because it was first settled by people who wanted to worship God according to their conscience. We see our country as Christian. We take great pride in who we are as Americans. I think we can tend to think that we have a special place in God’s heart as a nation.
    As an American who has lived overseas for over a decade, I realize that a lot of my identity has been in being an American. And there is a pride in that. But there can be an arrogance in it too.
    I have no idea what God is planning to do through the election of Obama as our new president and what is going on globally in the world. But I know that, for a long time, my hope has been placed in man instead of in my Father who is working all things according to His plan and wisdom and not mine.
    The past couple years I have been struck by the passages about love in the NT. We are know to be His disciples by our love. ‘The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love.’ Wow. I have so much more to learn but I am so excited about how Father is opening my eyes to His love. That is what I put my hope in. I know that my identity needs to be in who Father has made me to be and in who he is transforming me to be. I want to see myself more as a kingdom child than as an American. I hear a lot of people talking about ‘trusting God’ after this election because it went differently than they had wanted. So many times, we trust God when our efforts have failed or as a last resort. Would they be talking about trusting God had their candidate won?? It just brings me back to my own heart and what I really believe about Father and myself and how He works in this world. I have so much to learn. In the past I would have felt this as a weight and a deficiency – like I had failed. Now I see it as exciting. I am looking forward to Father opening my eyes more and more to who He is and how He works and His love.
    Thanks for listening.

  56. Jill November 21, 2008 at 7:05 am

    I am just coming out of years in the institutional church. I still have family who are very right wing, conservative fundamentalists. It’s interesting to see this election from their point of view because it was mine for so long. My mother even said ‘I don’t see how anyone who’s a Christian could vote for Obama. 🙂 I voted for McCain, not because I liked him but, as Brad put it on the podcast, I couldn’t vote for Obama’s social agenda. My husband voted for Obama for the same reasons Wayne did. Our votes are in CA so either way, they really didn’t matter much in the end. 🙂
    I am able to see now like I haven’t in the past, the arrogance we can have believing that ‘we know God’s will’ in a matter. That we have a corner on “God’s truth”. I have a lot in my head that I am unlearning and relearning. I feel like I have a lot that is in flux in my head. But I think that, one of the reasons why we can be so polarized on issues like these is that we are putting too much hope and dependence on our national government and our elected leaders. We see ourselves as ‘God’s people’ and our nation as ‘God’s country’ because it was first settled by people who wanted to worship God according to their conscience. We see our country as Christian. We take great pride in who we are as Americans. I think we can tend to think that we have a special place in God’s heart as a nation.
    As an American who has lived overseas for over a decade, I realize that a lot of my identity has been in being an American. And there is a pride in that. But there can be an arrogance in it too.
    I have no idea what God is planning to do through the election of Obama as our new president and what is going on globally in the world. But I know that, for a long time, my hope has been placed in man instead of in my Father who is working all things according to His plan and wisdom and not mine.
    The past couple years I have been struck by the passages about love in the NT. We are know to be His disciples by our love. ‘The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love.’ Wow. I have so much more to learn but I am so excited about how Father is opening my eyes to His love. That is what I put my hope in. I know that my identity needs to be in who Father has made me to be and in who he is transforming me to be. I want to see myself more as a kingdom child than as an American. I hear a lot of people talking about ‘trusting God’ after this election because it went differently than they had wanted. So many times, we trust God when our efforts have failed or as a last resort. Would they be talking about trusting God had their candidate won?? It just brings me back to my own heart and what I really believe about Father and myself and how He works in this world. I have so much to learn. In the past I would have felt this as a weight and a deficiency – like I had failed. Now I see it as exciting. I am looking forward to Father opening my eyes more and more to who He is and how He works and His love.
    Thanks for listening.

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