Lukewarm Christianity

Life Notes—April 4, 2013 

“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish that you were either cold or hot.  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’  You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.”  Revelation 3:15-17

I find this passage from the Revelation of John fascinating, in a troubling way.  I would describe a lukewarm person as a sort of middle-of-the-road, let’s not rock the boat, and let’s not take a strong stand type of person.  And I worry I may be lukewarm.  I like to keep my options open.  I try not to cause unnecessary offense, and I want to be liked by people.  I seldom raise my voice, either in anger or in joy.  Does that sound lukewarm?  In my Christian beliefs I tend to be skeptical. When I see someone doing something I believe to be sinful my first response is seldom condemnation.  I do not believe many bible writings are as clear-cut as they initially seem, or as others might believe.  I believe the Bible was inspired by God through humans, not dictated to scribes to be written down verbatim.  As such, scripture is to be wrestled with, contemplated and revisited time after time.  And in that wrestling a relationship develops.  I believe God is mysterious and defies our efforts to limit who and what God is, and how and why and when God acts.  I am not comfortable with those who feel, speak or act as if they have God figured out.  And so I am reluctant to pretend I do.  Does that make me a lukewarm Christian?

Personally, I do not consider myself a lukewarm anything.  I consider myself passionate and even zealous at times, although I am not often outwardly demonstrative.  Sometimes people confuse passion with raw emotion or impulsivity.  Is a person lukewarm because they do not fly off the handle at every perceived slight?  That is certainly not the picture scripture paints of Christ.  He was intentionally direct in his criticism of those who led others astray, like the scribes and Pharisees. He attended to those in need, providing healing and teaching in his humble, unassuming way.  When he overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple (John 2:14-16) Christ showed what may have been raw anger.  But for the most part, the Bible portrays Jesus as a man under control, at least outwardly—patiently and compassionately showing others a better way.  Even during his agonizing crucifixion he sought the forgiveness of his persecutors.  He personified great passion.  We are called to be passionate Christians, expressing that passion in the ways we are gifted to express, showing others the better way we have found.

Tom preaches downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Reverend Sharon Howell will be installed as Pastor Emeritus at the downtown services.  Mitch is preaching at the west campus where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. Communion will be served at all services.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Come hot or come cold, but come…

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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