I was texting back and forth with a good friend regarding the recent dissertation I linked to by Colleen Batchelder:
I made the comment that the church coffee bar was a bad idea. Because it actually had the opposite of the intended effect. We thought that we were being hip, cool, and inclusive, but the unintended effect was it taught is to be more exclusive to only hang around people who looked like us and thought like us. Now, instead of learning to interact with those who had different world views, we excluded them from being part of our Sunday routine.
If we really wanted to be inclusive, we would have encouraged our members to visit the local coffee shop and hang out there before the service, bringing Jesus to the people who needed it the most. So now we no longer know how to have conversations with people who wear gay pride flag pins, or are social justice warriors. Did we really think that people who saw the world differently than us would come into the church, buy their coffee, and go about their day? While we may not agree with their methodology, did we not hear how they did not want to live being feared, not accepted, nor loved by people like us?
The unspoken theology is that it is ok to not love those who are different than us.
Jesus said it this way:
- Matthew 5:46-47 ESV – 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
- Luke 5:31 ESV – 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Instead of being a church that brings healing to those in need, we have become a church full of plastic surgeons that only hang around those who want to improve their image.
And now at the end of the day, we wonder why our churches continue to shrink and become less relevant to our communities. We have no one to blame but ourselves for being even afraid to talk with people.
To love much, we must learn to love those who need it the most. So, as always, I encourage you to love much my friends.