Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. – Psalm 119:37
Two seemingly unrelated things converged in my mind today. The first was the notion of eating dinner with my husband tonight. On Monday and Thursday nights, he goes straight from work to his mother’s house to help her. On Wednesday nights, we divide and conquer to serve in our respective ministries at church. That means we eat together the other four nights. I like to make them count.
So as I thought about dinner this morning, I thought about something my husband comments about lately every other time we sit together at the table: the overgrown trees and bushes that obscure his lake view. As I prepared to do my quota of yard work in preparation for yard trash collection day, I did it with his view in mind. Unless he reads this post first, he’ll be pleasantly surprised when he sits at the table tonight and can again enjoy his lake view.
Where Do Your Sympathies Lie?
The convergence occurred with an article I read this morning by columnist Jonathan Merritt that shed light on why a young millennial believes her generation is rejecting the church’s efforts to create what she calls a “hipper Christianity.” Though I found many of her views refreshing – her insistence that millennials are simply “looking for Jesus—the same Jesus who can be found in the places He’s always been: in bread, in wine, in baptism, in the Word, in suffering, in community, and among the least of these”—she readily admits she left evangelicalism for the very liberal Episcopal Church in favor of “opportunities for women in leadership and the inclusion of LGBT people.”
From my experience with millennials, I don’t doubt her views represent those of her peers. But I believe the same can be said for many who depart from evangelicalism: Their sympathies lie more with man than with God. They have allowed worldliness to obscure their view of Jesus.
That said, is it wrong to have women in positions of leadership within a church? Yes, no and maybe. It’s wrong for women to have authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12), so this would disqualify a woman from the pastorate. But women can have authority over other women and children, provided such authority does not eventually leak into unbiblical territory. As for inclusion, any church that understands the concept “all have sinned” would welcome the LGBT community into the church in the hopes that they, like all others, would repent and commit to Christ. But we both know that’s not at the heart of our millennial friend’s concern.
An All-or-Nothing Faith
Just as the overgrowth of vegetation in our 200-tree yard obscured my husband’s view of the lake, an overgrowth of worldly sympathies obscures our full view of Jesus. Progressive Christians, for example, claim to want justice and opportunity for all children but fail to defend the unborn, who are the very definition of the least of these. This is an expression of their view of women’s rights. But rights can be wrong if an innocent person must die for them.
Jesus didn’t give us the option to pick and choose which of His teachings we could believe and apply. His way is hard – too hard, too alienating and too uncomfortable for many to accept.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. – Matthew 10:34
Truth is not relevant or experiential; it is unchanging and unyielding. Surrender your views to God, and ask Him to measure them against His plumb line. And be prepared to do some trimming and weeding of your own.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For a more in-depth discussion of truth, check out my previous post Nothing But the Truth.