“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16 (NLT)
Jesus knew that idealism in the extreme accomplishes little other than gridlock or martyrdom.
Every harmless dove needs a little shrewdness; every shrewd snake could use some harmless tempering. This may be have been John Wesley’s muse for developing the Middle Way.
While I’m no expert on Wesley (or much of anything else) it seems the founder of Methodism understood “moderation in all things” to be something we should take seriously.
Current day Methodists seem to miss that. We are embroiled of late in a push from sociological (not theological) extremes:
· On the right, weighing in at 320 lbs of pure conservative Pharisaism are those who would ban anyone who isn’t heterosexual from planet earth.
· On the left, weighing in at 320 lbs of purely liberal progressive humanism are those who would do away with every commonsense appraisal of Scripture’s take on sin.
Neither group gets Wesley’s understanding of “hearts holding hands”.
The Middle Way understands that we are not all cut from the same cloth, and always will differ in opinion on issues. We stay together and work together because the middle is where you meet to find common ground to finish the mission; the fringe is where plans are made to dismember the body of Christ.
I hate hidden agendas.
Having revealed my “snakey-shrewd” pessimism, I will temper it with “dovey-nice-nice” – we all have our agenda issues. Progressives who twist Scripture to validate sinful behavior, and Traditionalists who react with hatred in self-righteousness are moving more on agenda than Spirit breath. Church life becomes all so agenda-driven
Cutting to MY real agenda today:
I just hate the falseness of when someone hides their real intentions to gain your trust; it’s then that the rug underneath gets shaky. I am of the opinion, and willing to stand there – that every person who holds a different point of view than I hold, is welcome to stand with me in worship and in working for the Kingdom of God.
I really mean that.
And by that I mean – worshiping God, not self’s agenda. If you’re into that, I’d rather not be in the room.
The “baggage” of our sin (progressives and traditionalists alike) only belongs on an altar – not on a calendar of issues for the Judicial Council to bless or ban.
At this point I have to say shame on we Methodists for calling ourselves United!
For You, Today…
To my traditionalist friends: Have you worked through the Pharisee-hardened side of your heart?
To my progressive friends: Have you worked on that Zealot-humanism side of your heart?
Let’s be shrewd; let’s be harmless…there’s a middle way.
An invitation: Let’s go to the altar, place our sins where they can be handled by the proper authority…and then let’s do communion; let’s be communion.