Thursday, July 31, 2008


Walk with me here for a few moments...

We (the church) have often functioned under this paradigm:
1) BEHAVE--an outsider must first prove to us that they can behave.
2) BELIEVE--if you prove to us that you can behave, then we will help you learn how and what to believe.
3) BELONG--once you prove to us that you can behave and we help you learn to believe, then we will let you belong.

If we take Jesus seriously, he works under a different paradigm:
1) BELONG--Jesus lives in a way that he gave value and dignity to every human soul. "Sinners" wanted to be around him. He gave them a sense of belonging.
2) BELIEVE--it was through belonging that Jesus taught people how and what to believe.
3) BEHAVE--after giving dignity and ushering people into a belief, there came a time and place to teach people how to behave.

I like Jesus' model better.
Many churches carry the slogan "Come just as you are" and/or, "All are welcome here," but...
Are we ready to embrace the 19-yr-old with blue hair?
Are we ready to give a seat next to us on our pew to the 28-yr-old x-con who has tattoos from head-to-toe?
Do we give a voice to the 21-yr-old woman who has 4 kids by 3 different men?


Anonymous said...

amen. brother.
I experienced an elder in Memphis in the 70's at a large congregation who stood at the door and told what we would call hippie types they needed to go somewhere else. I pray that we are not doing the same in more PC ways. Ken Cox

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the anon. Couldn't get it to go through otherwise. But I did sign it.

Dr. Phil said...

Thank you for this! This calls for us to embrace some deep humility we may have overlooked for some time! HE created all and loves all and wishes good for all. Are we part of that "kingdom"?

Missy Robinson said...

I really like your post today because you have very succinctly said what I have felt for a long time. Christians often miss the point of actually how to treat people in a way that they "belong". How to make friends with someone and truly care about them from the outset. Thank you for your words.

jeff said...

Excellent point and observation...I think that I have personally been guilty of the Behave, Believe, and Belong paradigm in the past. And now, I feel like I tend to fall into the trap of being self righteous in feeling like I tend toward the 2nd paradigm of Belong, Believe, and Behave…and judge others for being stuck in the 1st Paradigm…especially when I can tell that someone does not agree with the way I “Behave”.

mouseclicker said...

Amen bro! I believe that SV used to be ready for folks with blue head and a huge ear ring in each ear. At least when SV had an afternoon service (1:30pm). I was very impressed that people who didn't look like the typical church goer felt that they can go to SV to worship God. I hope they were encouraged to come back.

Josh Ross said...

Great comments. I appreciate each of them.