...when you see the word FOR?
Do you think about golf and how bad you are at it? (That’s, FORE BTW). Do you think of how many cookies you can scarf in one go? (You are not trying hard enough if you can only eat FOUR). You probably think of something you like or believe in. (You’re FOR the New Orleans Saint…no matter how much they toy with your heart). Here’s a question, when you think of the word FOR do you think of the Christian Church? Our suspicion is that the first word that comes to mind is AGAINST.
AGAINST other religions
Maybe you grew up in a Church community and left because of this, or you grew up outside of a community with your only exposure being this AGAINST message. Ultimately, it led you (and many others) to one decision.
Church isn't for ME because the Church isn't FOR me.
Interestingly enough, Jesus and the community of believers that came after Him were’t known for this at all. In fact, they had kind of a weird and confusing reputation. Jesus and His followers spent a lot of time and energy on those that the Jewish tradition found unworthy to be a part of their community. People that had the wrong job, or did the wrong things, or had the wrong issue. In other words, Jesus and His followers spent a lot of time with outsiders. So Jesus and the Church are FOR outsiders, right? YEP!! It didn’t matter to them who you were or what you did, Jesus and His followers loved the outsider.
Now this is where it gets a little confusing. If they were FOR the outsiders that must mean they were AGAINST the insiders, right? Well…not exactly. Jesus spent a lot of time with Jewish people and their leaders always loving and leading them to a better way of life. (Jesus and His followers were both Jewish, after all). Both had some strong stuff to say to the Jewish people, but they always were FOR them being a part of this new thing God was doing. So Jesus and his followers are FOR insiders, too.
For far too long the Church has been known for what we're AGAINST. We should be known for what we are FOR. Here at the SELU Wesley, we are FOR Hammond. More to come about this over Spring 2018 semester.