There should be a bigger difference. There should be.
I look at the government of this country and how the people behave and it is appalling. The decisions get poor results. The way they talk about and treat one another leaves little room for hope in the future. Principles are compromised. Relationships are based on what one can gain, not what one can give. I want my kids to behave better than that in this life.
I look around in the church and I see the same thing.
But I want different for my family.
We are trying to put more outside, poetry, and color into our days. I want my kids to be unique, thinkers, kind and brave. I want them to love the Lord. I want them to be the church. I want collegiality, thoughtfulness, the willingness to disagree and not wish harm on the other side, and the desire to obey Christ foremost in their days.
During the government shutdown Christians should have held hands all around the Capital building praying together that our nation honor God. United--congregation to congregation, denomination to denomination--in fervent prayer for God's blessing. We don't even need to be united in what that blessing looks like. After all, God is actually the one in charge of it and He is not a democracy looking for the most popular idea to make happen.
But, as Christians, we should all want His blessing for our nation.
And we should all want His blessings for our churches.
And our families.
So why don't we act that way?
"There should be room for..." I have heard myself say over and over again at ministry meetings. I think what I was really pleading for was room for me. Isn't there room for me? Someone who doesn't think like many of the others; someone who finds it painful to silently disagree, so she speaks out; someone who sees things differently and often predicts things accurately; someone who wants to scream "I told you so" regarding those situations that are lived-out-predictions that others like to call "coincidence". I still wish we could all just get along a little bit better. I wish our lives in church would be built around what we can give and not what we can gain.
I am pretty sure that's what Jesus wants to.
It turns out figuring out how to live that is a more advanced skill than I currently possess.
But I am not giving up. I am still learning and growing.
Earlier this fall I heard a great speaker at an education conference say, "We need to be exposed to consistently reliable and sophisticated language. What is readily available today is consistently unsophisticated and often unreliable language." That is profoundly true.
There should be a difference between the way the world functions and the way the body of Christ functions. There should be a difference between Congress and the church. And if I want there to be a difference between the way my past was and the way my future will be, perhaps I need to concentrate on consistently reliable and sophisticated input into my family and my mind.