The need of the Church is not some cleansing to make sure we have some very strict doctrinal stance memorized perfectly. Doctrine is important. Teaching is vital. Memorizing something to sound absolutely correct and then demanding that precision accuracy of everyone else is not healthy.
The need of the Church is not beating our one issue social concern drums. Either side (or all the sides) of any issue. Pick it: homosexuality, abortion, drinking, being Republican, being Democrat… We get so caught up in our one-horse issues we have made it our entire theology and no matter what we read the rest of our theology through that one lens. No matter what that lens may be, it’s just not a very pleasant view after awhile. And it gets distorted badly.
The need of the Church is to listen to the Savior. We’re not very good at listening any more. We don’t listen to each other. And we claim to that our “side” (whatever issue we’re talking about ) is God’s side… and all sides are saying it.
It is evidence that the Bride of Christ has turned into Bridezilla and the Bride is no longer listening to the Bridegroom. Of course, THAT is a very American thing. There are numerous scenes from movies, etc., that show the wife standing there going at someone about what their husband thinks, or she is there talking with someone else about what her husband believes, all while her husband is standing there. He may try to say something, but the bride keeps talking right over him.
We are very American “Christian brides.”
We need more listening and less yapping.
There is such a need to come back to written Word and begin again an odyssey of listening. The written Word is vital. It is the clearest place to begin and then we can train our spiritual ears to hear the Spirit better.
Every significant leading of the Spirit in my life has its roots in my reading of the Scripture. When I’ve sought out any major decision, or made a significant shift in some life issue, it’s begun in the written Word.
Let me say this as well: some significant places where I’ve made the wrong turns in my life have come from ignoring my time in the written Word. It has gone both ways.
It’s not an either/or proposition: “I’m a person of the Book.” OR “I’m a person of prayer.” It’s both/and. We must be firmly established in the written Word AND in prayer, for in prayer we have the power of the Spirit to lead us to specific direction. We need the dynamic leading of the Spirit in our lives. And that comes through the written Word and prayer.
The significant movements of the Spirit in my life as to some very tough issues and how I approach ministry have all arisen out of reading the written Word and then hearing the Spirit speak to me through that Word.
On this Pentecost Sunday, we need a fresh wind of the Spirit blowing through the American Church. We need a fresh touch of the Spirit to stop… and listen… to the Bridegroom speak to his Bride.