Saturday, March 14, 2009

Return from Trip ... and Evangelical Culture

Well, we returned from our family trip to Disneyland late Tuesday night, and I had to get ready almost immediately for Thursday's Class Day ... a large stack of essays to grade and classes to prepare. The news then came that one of my dearest friends was in the emergency room and required an appendectomy, so much prayer and yes, some concern, marked the rest of the evening, making it difficult to concentrate on grading essays. After classes, we dropped a card and some mini-roses at the hospital for her.

Friday was taken up with a mad deep cleaning of the house as our doctor and his wife came over to enjoy dinner with us. Keith was a wizard in the kitchen, working his magic with his amazing tortilla soup, his mother's sweet cornbread, and his dark chocolate mousse with freshly whipped cream. The Ademas brought a wonderful green salad with a variety of vegetables, nuts, and berries and a bottle of Trader Joe's chardonnay. I scoured the wine at Trader Joe's following Class Day, and after consulting with their wine expert on what to serve with flavorful Mexican food, settled on a Viognier by Half Moon that the Ademas and I very much enjoyed. We lit the wood burning stove and many candles as we discussed politics, education, medical ethics, and the arts over dinner. Dr. Adema wanted to sneak away with the watercolor Keith's mom painted of Leed's Castle in England which hangs in our main room between two tall oak bookcases Keith made years ago.

So today I am curled up on the sofa with my laptop after sleeping in until 11 AM, resting up after a very busy couple of weeks -- catching up on Facebook, Twitter, and my Google Blog Reader which listed nearly 350 blog posts I'm behind on. I'm just glancing through most of them and am only reading ones that really appeal to me. I ran across an interesting paragraph written by Mark Galli in Christianity Today, quoted by Brian McLaren on his blog:

What I will do, to my dying day, is work with anyone who knows he was lost but now is found, whose Bible is worn because she repeatedly looks there for God to speak, who finds the Cross the most meaningful of symbols, for whom the Resurrection is not just a doctrine but a power, and who wants nothing more than to find new and creative ways to share the evangel of Jesus in word and deed. I'll work with these people no matter what scholars decide to call them.

Mark Galli's entire article can be read by clicking here. He also remarks that as the evangelical church begins to wane, many evangelicals are heading into the liturgical churches, specifically the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. Galli himself is an Anglican and mentions that there is still more outflow from the Anglican church to the evangelical than the other way around at this point, although that direction may change in the future. It's an interesting article in Christianity Today as Galli discusses the Internet Monk blog (Michael Spencer), whom I also read. I follow Galli's blog regularly as well as I find his writing very perceptive yet respectful.

I agree with both McLaren's observation and Galli's words that we need to put aside the labels we place upon other Christians, whether those labels be denominational in origin or more general (liturgical, Pentecostal, high church, low church, evangelical, etc.) and simply, as Galli stated, work with people who love Jesus, take Him at His Word, love and serve others, and who spread the Gospel. And if those people happen to be Roman Catholic, High-Church Anglican, Pentecostal, or whatever, that's not the important thing. It's the vibrancy of their faith, the eagerness to share Christ's Gospel, the passionate compassion for others, and the beliefs set forth in the historic creeds of the church -- Jesus is the Son of God, was resurrected from the dead, etc. It's majoring on the majors, not getting hung up on minor differences.

Yes, these are the Kingdom People I want to be working with, no matter how they are described by others.

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