In light of our awesome discussion on Sunday, I want to pass along this newsletter from DF in B'ham. Greg Newton comments on how the journey that the community has travelled allows them to share goodness with others. I like this paragraph:
"God has taught us to not judge one another, but to respect others who follow their own conscience. We do not impose our convictions to achieve unity, nor do we lack convictions. We’ve learned that the Spirit’s work of unity allows us to be together despite what is humanly irreconcilable."
The rest of the letter can be found at the bottom of this post.
For me, a good question remains: How does this attitude stretch beyond others who follow Jesus? Sure, there will be differences between those who claim Jesus. And it is foreseeable that these differences can be overcome and that the Spirit can work toward unity. But what does unity look like with those who have a completely different paradigm that does not involve Jesus?
love to all,
The entire newsletter from Greg Newton at Disciples Fellowship in Birmingham, AL:
Being in a “good place” as a community gives us something valuable to share. Before the Gospel can be shared, it must be lived and experienced. If Jesus was right (and he was) about being known for a God-emulating love for one another, then that love has to be lived and practiced before there is the possibility of sharing any good news.
As I’ve bee saying recently, I believe we been brought by God to a good place from which we can authentically speak about the love of God, not only his for us, but as the love which we strive to have for one another . . . and the whole world. Our acceptance of one another is a result of God’s love. Our desire to be transformed from who any of us are so we may become more like Christ, is also a result of God’s love.
On our long journey to this place we have left faith in our own obedience to God’s commands, for faith in the obedience of Jesus. Faith is no longer possessing all the correct doctrinal positions on a set of questions, but is trusting in God to do what we cannot do for ourselves. Worship is no longer a time set apart to correctly carry out a set of instructions so God will be pleased, but a time to engage in a transforming focus on God, which then sets the context for how that worship is continued through all the activities of our week.
God has taught us to not judge one another, but to respect others who follow their own conscience. We do not impose our convictions to achieve unity, nor do we lack convictions. We’ve learned that the Spirit’s work of unity allows us to be together despite what is humanly irreconcilable.
Through God’s work we’ve been able to lay down the doctrinal and spiritual baggage that we had acquired and may now help others to do the same. We’ve lived enough of the Gospel to know what it means to speak about God’s goodness, and to invite others to taste and see that God is good. We confess that we are only beginning to live out God’s love. Even so, the potential of this gift of love is tremendous . . . goodness to be shared.