There is a boy sniffing glue, attempting to forget the trials of life on the streets. There is a mother weeping over her son who died of hunger. There is a man remembering the earthquake that took his leg and his family away. There is an old woman looking for clean water, and finding none.
There is a girl who has no more tears to shed; she has been raped too many times to count. She no longer considers herself human. There is a teen down the street cutting herself, and contemplating suicide. There is a boy trying desperately to forget the time he was forced to kill his own family. There is a man who just discovered his beloved has left him for another.
All these things are happening. Right now.
I believe in theology. It’s how we think about God that determines how we think about this world and how we live in it. But the singular focus on doctrine that has characterized the recent history of the Evangelical community in America has left us paralyzed and unable to respond to the immense pain and suffering in this world.
We have spent more time focusing on what sets us apart from other versions of Christianity than attempting to work together to bind up the brokenhearted. We use church services and internet conversations to declare the heresies of other faith communities, when we should be seeking reconciliation with our brothers and sisters, and through those relationships, following Jesus to the depths of pain and suffering in the lives of those around us, near and far.
So, if I could change one thing about the way Evangelical Christianity is practiced in America, I would tear down the walls that divide us from our brothers and sisters, build love among us, and through those relationships pursue love, peace, and justice in a broken world that desperately needs the love of God to transform lives and structures.
Doctrine would take a place secondary to God’s commands to love God, love one another, love our neighbor, love our enemies, and love those who the world rejects. I would make the Evangelical community a place where the mother, the son, the daughter, the father, the abandoned, the homeless, the angry, the hurting, the lonely, the hungry, the naked, the thirsty and the sick would be pursued, welcomed, known and accepted.
What would you change?