Rational, understanding, and kind thinking and praxis…

My online friend Jamie had a great post today about solidarity and support of people who are on the same journey as followers of Jesus.  Here's what he had to say:

This is an essential part of the process of spiritual and missional
maturity, both for individuals and communities.  We must be willing to
put our ideas and ideals into action and allow the larger Body of
Christ (with whom there should be mutual and trusting relationship on
some level) to speak frankly, constructively and even correctively into
our lives.  After all, how else are we to grow and learn?  How else are
we going to resist falling in love with our own ideas and models,
allowing us the freedom to change as is needed?

As I read the many conversations only about the different ideas and
models, I have begun to become more aware of the posture of analysis
different people take.  For the most part, those who are committed to
truly become God's people in the world engage the issues, even the
criticisms, appropriately.  However, it is very easy, as theology and
ministry become professional practices, to treat these evaluations with
overly clinical eyes.  At times, this approach lacks the patient grace
and familial love that should characterize our relationship to others,
especially within the Church.  How would our engagement of these issues
change in tone and  nature if we were committed to consider the heart
of the other first?


I am not suggesting that rigorous academic, theological and/or
organizational analysis is not important.  However, I am saying that
these approaches must come under the temperance of relational grace and
consideration.  Whether we are critiquing missional theology and models
or mega-church attractional techniques, we must intentionally
acknowledge that we are relating to sisters and brothers in Christ. 
This does not ignore or even diminish the important role of corrective
(even prophetic) challenge, but rather realigns our focus foremost to
the heart.


To that end, as you come across ideas, examples, model- even rants and
polemics- pause to consider the person or persons behind it.  Let us
change our posture of clinical analysis to one of patient
consideration.  Even where correction and rebuke is deserved, let us
respond with the undeserved grace that we also received from Christ and
hope to receive when we put our own ideas and lives out before a
watching world.

It is not only hard but impossible to argue or disagree with such a gracious perspective and stance as we engage each other in missio dei.  This isn't a blind holding of hands and singing of "Kum ba yah" but it is a loving engagement that places responsibility for ultimate accountability in the right hands – God's! 

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