A month…

A month of insanity has gone by. We have harvested 2000 acres of corn and just gotten a start on soybeans. Finally, we have a rain day. After 3 full weeks of working every day, I’m ready for a break. I forget how much I love the sound of rain on my roof and the boisterous thunderclaps in the early morning hours before dawn. 

I have had more time to read in the last month as I wait for a load of grain to haul into the elevator. I finished 2 books and started a 3rd. Each of them has touched me in different ways, but I have appreciated each of the authors. The first that I finished is called If God is Love by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland. I had started reading the book several years ago and lost interest for whatever reason, but in this current ungracious and often harsh political climate, I have tried to keep my thoughts and feelings gracious as I think God does with us at all times.  Being gracious and respectful is the theme of the book, but he explores it from many different angles and scenarios, which creates tons of challenges for me because I do not always want to be gracious. I hold grudges and get annoyed easily with the different people around me, but I try my best to not return a spiteful remark with another one or an angered reply with another equally harsh reply.  What I realize the most most though, is that I have been taught my entire life that proper justice is a hurt for a hurt and a pain for an equal pain. My challenge here is to move beyond these responses and walk in the way of Jesus, responding with doing good to repay evil or harm and to sacrifice my pride and selfishness for the good and well-being of another person.

Another book that I just finished was called If the Church were Christian by Philip Gulley. This book taught me again to look at my own life and church and ask if we are truly looking to Jesus to guide our actions individually and communally. Gulley created ten more than statements that highlight the shift in priorities that needs to happen in the church for it to follow more closely in the way of Jesus. I am listing them below as a way for you to consider what these shifts in thinking and habits might look like in your personal life and community life.

If the church were Christian, then…

1. Jesus would be a model for living rather than an object of worship.

2. Affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness.

3. Reconciliation would be valued over judgment.

4. Gracious behavior would be more important than right belief.

5. Inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers.

6. Encouraging personal exploration would be more important than communal uniformity.

7. Meeting needs would be more important than maintaining institutions.

8. Peace would be more important than power.

9. Then it would care more about love and less about sex.

10. This life would be more important than the afterlife.

Think about these ideas and how they might challenge our ways of doing church and meeting together. Could we begin a different shift in the church toward love, mercy, grace, peace, justice, and reconciliation? What would our communities look like if we did?

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~ by randallkoehler on October 14, 2016.

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