“… our definitions of love get twisted when institutional priorities take over …. The problem with church as you know it, is that it has become nothing more than mutual accommodation of self-need. Everybody needs something out of it. Some need to lead. Some need to be led. Some want to teach, others are happy to be the audience. Rather than become an authentic demonstration of God’s life and love in the world, it ends up being a group of people who have to protect their turf.”
Very strong words about 'love' being twisted by the very group who are called to portray the love of God. But then again, maybe church 'folk' should only love those who agree with them, like the same color paint and carpet, like the same programs, look the same, dress the same, smell the same, and worship the same and they should reject, verbally assassinate, and look down upon those who do not. I mean surely God would never have me love someone who is not just like me and does not see life as I do. God would never ask me to really love a person, even if they are Christian, who cusses, drinks, or is divorced would He? And what about those who vote different than I do or choose to live out their lives differently than I do. That would be sin, right!? WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Those examples may sound absurd, but it is happening all the time in our churches! One would have to be blind not to see it! Spiritually blinded that is!
The truth of the matter is that we have been called to love all people. For many in our churches love has become nothing more than showing acceptance to those who 'agree' with us and rejecting those who do not. That is a 'twisted' view of God's love. Yes, God has called us to love ALL people, but NO, He has not called us to agree with all people. I find it amazing that couples, families, and even friends can have disagreements and even heated discussions (nice for arguments) and still LOVE each other. When this takes place in the institution we call 'the church' love is tossed aside or at the least, twisted. How many arguments and dissentions have come about because a program was started, nixed, or changed? How many Christians have allowed hatred to come into their hearts all because music in a worship service stepped up and became relevant and contemporary? How many 'church' goers have allowed resentment to take over because they were not reconized for teaching or giving? On and on it goes. I simply say WHAT!!!!??? It is a sad fact that buildings, denominations, programs, and worship styles have become the focus of what it means to be 'Christian'. This has led many to feel obligated to protect their 'turf' all at the cost of love. Programs, denominations, style, buildings, hymn books, and computers will all pass - souls shall live forever. We do not need to agree with everyone, BUT we need to love ALL people God's Way, not some twisted way!