I argued in yesterday's blog post that Christian community does indeed have a litmus test: are we living life under the Lordship of Jesus? To pick up a phrase that we say around Heritage Park quite a bit: "it's okay not to be okay, it's just not okay to stay that way."
Let me try to explain that a little more.
The fact is we all, to the man, woman, and child, are not okay. We're born separated from God, sinners by nature and choice. We have issues and idols, complications and complaints, lostness and lusts, pain and problems, habits and hurts, smallness and selfishness. The beautiful part about the church is the ability to say that out loud because it's true. No hiding. No pretending. All really have sinned. And to stand in front of any group of people and say we're all messed up is stating what everyone knows by observation. In that sense, it's okay not to be okay because we all are precisely that. I am 100% for accepting people as they are and no matter where they come from or what baggage they're carrying. Our church is made up of stories that are scarred, colorful, and ugly. Frankly, I think we do a very good job at taking people as they are and where they are.
But that's not what makes it Christian community.
To think that staying in the same broken and busted life is an okay thing is deceptive and dishonoring. "It's not okay to stay that way" means that accepting people as they are is only half the story. There is the issue of Jesus dying and rising again to cleanse us from our past and give us a new kind of life. Learning from Him, who has the best possible answers to the most important questions, how to live life means that transformation is a normal (if supernatural) part of the Christian experience. And the commitment to that, or as I stated earlier, the submission to the Lordship of Jesus, is the determining factor of Christian community.
His Lordship means that He gets to determine who we accept (everyone), how we accept people (as broken) and what agenda we pursue together (transformation). But that certainly is a litmus test, one determined by His Lordship.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...