i was struck last night by a tension i live in.
my theology (thank god) has continued to grow and evolve and ripen over the years. this has been especially true for me in the past decade, as i’ve experienced a broader cross-section of the church. in the last few years, i’ve been wrestling with my understanding of the gospel, particularly. i was so encouraged just a few weeks ago at the junior high pastors summit (which i blogged heavily about), with scot mcknight helping me to “land” a bit more, rather than just having lots of questions, or merely uneasiness about a simplistic cross-the-bridge gospel.
and this role i have, with youth specialties, allows — even demands — that i don’t just keep my thoughts and growth personal and private. i feel a sense of obligation (in a good way) to help people experience a more-full-gospel — one that is holistic, and — in mcknight’s words — addresses the restoration god brings in all aspects of our life, with god, self, others, and the world.
but when i come into contact with believers who are in a different place than i, well… i get into trouble.
trouble, because, i often sense an interior-life haughtiness, a superiority about MY position on the gospel (which is ridiculous when i stop to think about it, since MY position has been in such flux). and that is a terribly slippery slope to be on. where is grace really active in my life if i do not allow the holy spirit to move in other lives as he has in mine? where is the humbling, grace-drenched gospel really taking root in marko if i do not extend that same grace (and humility) to people in a place where i was mere years ago?
i found myself trying to “corner” the student life guys last night– trying to uncover legalism or a partial gospel in their ministry (some of which comes with my role when considering a potential ministry partner — i don’t want ys to partner with an organization that preaches legalism or guilt). but it made me sick of me. to their credit, their responses to my prying and somewhat passive-aggressive questions were wonderful — beautiful, even.
apparently, i have some distance to travel yet in my own spiritual journey. and i pray it is not to a place of arrogance.