Thursday rolled in this week rather like the fog used to roll in to the Oregon coast as I was growing up...
...meaning, way too fast, covering the landscape around me.
There was no fog horn of warning.
I woke up and all I saw was gray vapor.
It's been a busy week, and I've had no clarity on this morning's blog, and now that Thursday is here (sure enough), I can't see the "Son" for the fog hovering around my brain...
So, I've silently waited for the Holy Spirit to "brood over the waters (see Genesis 1:1-3, TLB)" of my finite mind and bring some sort of light.
As I begin to type, there's a small sliver of it, just barely beginning to break through...
I reckon we'll see if it's brightness actually burns the fog away...or not.
In the meantime, it seems I'm typing blind...
I continue to be surprised (and, not in a good way) at the new "twists and turns" within the Christian faith.
After reading to Bay, yet one more post, from the heart of a young woman with whom I'm acquainted, we verbally ping-ponged back and forth about what the best approach might be when we come up against this new branding in Christianity.
In Paul's letter to the Galatian churches, Paul mentions that when another "new brand" tried to influence the gospel in Antioch, Peter seemed to get sucked into the drama even though he knew better.
The Lord had already given Peter a vision freeing him from dietary restrictions years earlier;
...nevertheless, those who wanted the Jewish law to be included in salvation, totally affected Peter's reasoning, and Paul called him out on the fact his behavior DID NOT match his convictions.
So, to his face, and in public, Paul opposed Peter for his inconsistency.
After all, the preservation of the gospel was at stake.
Considering other passages in this little letter, I'm certain Paul called Peter into question with affection (Gal 4:12) and with an anguished heart (4:19).
I'm convinced, he followed his own instructions (Galatians 6:1-3), attempting to restore Peter quickly, by rebuking him in a "spirit of gentleness....and, in humility," being filled with the Holy Spirit of the Lord (Gal. 5:22).
Interesting (yes?), to think about rebuke, gentleness, and love in the same context...
But, true love often needs to use that effective tool of rebuke to garner attention.
In these days, "love" would never rebuke; because loving means agreeing.
So, for this reason, Bay and I both decided, we can state our convictions with honesty and kindness (a "spirit of gentleness"), but not much good would come from "opposing" - at least, not in the Apostle-Paul-sense.
Peter, by his very nature, tended toward impulsivity.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he may just not have thought about the consequences of his actions -
It probably didn't cross his mind that others might be led astray down a dangerous path....
Or that his decision to no longer eat with the Gentiles, for fear of the Jews, might send a mixed message and hurt others in the process...
I can't say the same is true in progressive circles.
Overall, those I've talked with, and asked questions of, sincerely believe they've found a better way...and, that those who still lean "evangelical" are trapped in bondage and shame.
With both sides deeply and emotionally ingrained, it's difficult to dialogue openly; and, when said and done, any discussion would end at a frustrating impasse...
So, if we cross off our action-list the word "oppose," then what's an evangelical, Christ-follower, supposed to do when the gospel is in jeopardy of losing its preservation?
The answer isn't quite as foggy as my Thursday morning began.
Instead of attempting to change minds:
We take the Word of Truth to those who are coming behind...
We look to the next-gen, bringing the simplicity of the gospel to them...
We prepare to answer questions - no matter how confusing or difficult - to those who are asking...
We walk alongside those who are hurting...
And, above all, we pray, pray, pray for the Lord to do as He's done before....to bring revival..
I've set an alarm on my phone to do exactly this.
Every day at 4:00 PM, it buzzes and a notification reads:
"Pray for the next-gen."
What if we all did the same?
So, as I began today's random "just a thought," praying that the Spirit of the Lord would brood over my heart and mind, as He did over the waters at the beginning of time, speaking light into existence, I end somewhat the same way.
I'm asking the Lord to break through the fog hovering over this world:
"Oh, Spirit of God, be active!
Oh, Spirit of God, breathe life!
Oh, Spirit of God, brood over the waters of our finite world,
and call into being new stories of redemption.
Oh, Spirit of God, breathe life!"*
*(Modified from Every Moment Holy, Volume 1)