For some reason, I had a very startling and terrifying realization today. Perhaps everyone else has already pondered this idea and dealt with it, and if so, I apologize. However, I've heard little about the subject and felt that it would be good to share it.
Throughout history, the Christian church as a whole has done some absolutely great things (by the grace of God, I might add) but as we all painfully know, the church has also done some very foolish and detestable things. Heretics burned at the stake, a whole race of people almost completely wiped away from their native land in the name of manifest destiny, proud slave owners in the church and a complete abuse and disrespect for African Americans in the church even after slavery was abolished.
There's no shortage of horror stories in the history of the church, but have you considered this - what will our great grand children be disgusted by when they look back at our generation of Christians?
Sure, we'd like to think we have it all figured out, but time has shown that we are more than capable of creating atrocities in the name of Christ and often do. What will our legacy be? Will it be our complete disregard of the poverty, disease, and death that plague our neighbors despite our sickening wealth and resources? We as the church collectively bat our eyes as we get bombarded with stories, pictures and facts of a poverty stricken world. Will we allow our shaking heads, light sighs, and "tsk tsk tsks" to be what we leave for our future brothers and sisters in Christ to remember us for?
Perhaps it will be our absolute raping of the environment even after we've been warned time and time again that will be the lasting picture of our generation. Despite the fact we've been entrusted by God to care for His creation, we have rudely spit in the face of the Great Artist who provided air for us to breath, sunsets for us to enjoy, and wildlife for us to protect. Do we want to be the generation of Christians who sat back and bulldozed the environment for the sake of bigger and cooler congregations who cared nothing for God's creation?
Maybe we will be remembered for our complete lack of cooperation with our brothers and sisters at any cost. At a time when unity is beyond a necessity, we have once again chosen to draw lines and point fingers, choosing instead to pridefully pat ourselves on the back for our correctness. Last week at the annual conference for the Southern Baptist Convention, a motion was made to cease all friendly cooperation with churches who allow women in particular roles of ministry. All friendly cooperation.
Sure, it's one person making the motion, but make no mistake, denominational pridefulness is rampant and will only continue to burn bridges and cause divisions until no one from outside the church has any desire to be a part of our Christian community. Is this the legacy we want to leave?
I'm no more enlightened than anyone else and have no "quick fix" answer to give. I'm just pointing out what I see that could eventually come back to haunt us. Those of you who know me may be getting ready to call me on my hypocrisy, but rest assured that my hand is shamefully raised and accepting of the blame that comes from these accusations. My hope and prayer is that by the grace of God we can muster the strength and integrity to repair our damages, realizing we will be held accountable for what we leave in our wake.
Thank you Jesus for being so very, very patient with us.