Monday, January 09, 2006

A Christian's signature

John at Blogotional references my post and Lauren's post on Christian civility in The Call To Hospitality.

John writes:

Blogging cannot be the church, we lack the ability to fulfil sacramental functions, and I believe the church calls for fleshly human contact - but perhaps we can model this aspect for the the church and it can learn from us.

Hospitality is, I think the missing ingredient in most churches today, and by hospitality, I do not mean "friendly."

First, it's ironic that John would mention me in a post on this subject. When I first joined the blogosphere, I didn't give John a fair shake because I didn't understand his perspective. It took about a month of lowering my pride to consider exactly what he was saying before realizing we actually agree on a lot, and I was being an over-sensitive weenie by taking offense to some of his open criticisms (properly aimed at beliefs and practices, not people).

John is now one of my favorites and daily reads, but God had to punch some holes in my pride first.

What I see in this growing New Year's call for Christian civility is something I was taught in Sunday School as the Christians signature or calling card: We are supposed to be unique to the world, visibly transformed so that people who don't know Christ will recognize us as positiviely different.

Just as they will not know us by our Cadillac Escalades, neither will they know us for a our million-dollar theological arguments.

But being civil among Christians is not just a missional purpose. We miss sight of one of the great benefits of being Christians when we are in constant attack -- allowing the Spirit to work between us, knitting us together. Ignoring this all the time grieves the Spirit, I think.

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