“Come as you are”

We want you to feel at home with us. Casual or dressy? We want you to be comfortable, whether it be heels or tennis shoes, suit or t-shirt. We’re just glad to see you.

Matthew 18:20

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

A Message for June from Pastor Mike

Blunting the Bludgeon

Having never before traversed the campus of Purdue University on foot, I treaded with an unblinking focus through the endless brick maze, hoping to find the Memorial Union Building. After stumbling up to and then down through it, I entered the food court and saw an old familiar face.

You couldn’t miss him with his iconic combo of hoodie and running shorts, a slightly gaped tooth grin that curls into concentric ringed dimples. We shook-hugged as men are want to do, and remarked at how the other had barely changed in appearance over the passing years.

Coach ran the football team, directed all athletics, and was a longtime institutional symbol of faith at the high school where I attended in Florida. A man who is not an ally of gravity but stands ten feet tall nonetheless as a disciple of Jesus. He was visiting the campus with one of his star players, prospecting like gold miners to find the best stream for him to work and play.

So we sat down after buying a remarkably large and inexpensive piece of pizza, and not 5 minutes later I was stuttering in discomfort. You need to know that the school where Coach and I joined paths stands firmly in the Southern Baptist tradition. And in stark contrast to that rearing, the seminary where I received my training is a proud bastion of progressive Christian thought. So when Coach cited my recent Alma Madre’s reputation and asked if I subscribed to their thinking, the line-toting moderate heart within me took a tumble like a skateboarder who painfully missed their grind on a steep park handrail.

A guy named Paul had some choice words to say to a people that were wrestling with their own versions of ‘Conservative v. Liberal’. He said, “Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. “12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

Even though our faith and understanding can take us to incredible heights, what happens if our differences of faith inhibit or harm or reduce the love of Jesus that is of even greater value to God? A charge and question that we are all liable to on occasion.

By all appearances we are in ‘summer time’, one of the most relaxing and enjoyable seasons of the year where we canoe and hike, experiment and travel, rest and repurpose. A sociable time, an active period, an opportunity to heal and redirect. But also a time where tempers and disagreements can run just as hot as the coals on the grill.

Jesus thankfully points us to a better way. Through him we don’t have to get it all right, and feel compelled to use our faith as a bludgeon to beat forth the truth. He is our way, our truth, our life, a filter that purifies our faith and measures it with the pH strips of his love. And in him we find true relaxation, a ‘summer time’ kind of love, a peace that mends and blunts all bludgeons.

 

 

Pastor Mike