I spent years not interested in the Christian faith because I considered it too “safe.” To be Christian, I thought, was to accept the status quo, to refuse to take a stand, to silently assent to a life directed by the majorities that surround us. I wanted a cause to believe in, a good fight to fight, a reason to challenge the world head on. When I finally encountered a teacher who helped me see the revolutionary teachings of Jesus in that light, I was hooked and my life was changed.
Our evening worship community, First 7th, is spending the summer focusing on different books of the New Testament. The current series, a five-week focus on the book of James, is full of dangerous ideas. James doesn’t deal in platitudes or soft suggestions — he challenges the reader to be so thoroughly transformed by the Gospel that they change the fabric of society around them. In this week’s scripture selection, James presents us with a hypothetical that asks as a pointed question: Are we building churches that look like heaven, or churches that reflect the biases and prejudices of the rest of the world?
Reading James challenges me. In taking general themes and applying them to tough real-world situations, James makes me wonder if I’m trying to “play it safe” after all. James is simple but it’s not easy, it’s a book full of ideas and teachings that, if lived out to the fullest, will soon have you — and your church — standing out from the crowd. I’m thrilled to be with you in worship this Sunday in the chapel and sanctuary services, please join us!