What I long for is the honest conversation in the church. I want to drop my misconceptions and just invite a conversation. It’s incredibly difficult. For one, I can’t get those things completely out of my head. I have to work harder at simple listening.
For another, when people see me, they see my labels. So, because I’m Pentecostal… or “evangelical”… or white… or male… somehow there is not a conversation to be had. Misconceptions run both ways.
I won’t be labeled automatically. Not if I can help it. I know it will happen, but that’s not on me. It’s up to me to make sure I’m not letting labels get quickly in the way so it blocks a conversation with someone else.
But let’s at least get to the table to talk.
Scot McKnight has some powerful questions on the “success” of a church. I like some of these challenging questions!
Asked as a question, Who is invisible in your church?
To the degree folks are invisible, we don’t have the right view of the church or the right view of the Christian life.
Here are some examples:
What about gays and lesbians? Let’s ignore the debates about what the Bible teaches and ask this question: Are they able to be honest about their sexual orientation? Or do they catch the message the gospel is not for them? Does your church want redemption or exclusion?
For me, I want to at least get to the table to have the conversation. As uncomfortable as it is, I long for those deep moments where something real is possible.