“Because we want glory for ourselves, we seek to find fault in others. Contentious people are constantly looking for something to argue about, some way to start controversy and disrupt the peace.” –John Frame in Evangelical Reunion: Denominations and the One Body of Christ (you can read the whole book online–follow the link).
I want peace. I want unity. Sometimes it’s difficult for me because I can be contentious at times, most often when I feel an injustice has been done or when I sense that my cause is a “just cause” worth fighting for.
While there are things worth fighting for, none of these things frequents the topics this blog covers. Sure, I’ve mentioned my family, my (beautiful!) wife and (adorable!) kids, but, generally, they are not the ongoing topic of conversation around the Fields of Grace table.
And to be honest, my imperfect understanding of my faith and the God I serve and worship is not worth fighting about. Firstly, this is because my understanding is and always will be imperfect–not complete, still emerging, constantly being developed, rethought and revised. Secondly, this is because my God is big enough to fight his own battles. God doesn’t need, nor in fact want, me to be a warrior for my interpretation of him or his truth.
Today I experienced what I must say was a delightful church meeting (if there ever is such a thing). Not because the subject matter was of a lighter or trivial nature–being two pastors down and looking for replacements is hardly a position that doesn’t bring with it many concerns and burdens. What transpired was, by and large, a display of how powerfully the Holy Spirit is working to unite us together and to give us peace in this time of change and uncertainty. It was such a joy to see many testify to their confidence that God will do great things in our community and that the best is yet to come.
As I look into the days ahead, I too (cynical as I may be at times) am certain that this is true. It is not because God is on our side, or because we are right in our theology or understanding of God and his revelation. It is because, and only because, we are confident in God himself (or herself if you wish). When St Paul wrote “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it…” he was writng to a group of Christ-followers, not individuals. And I believe his statement is as true of the group of Christ-followers around me as it was back then.
And that’s why, for me, being contentious isn’t a good way to go.
Having said this, I’m sure you’ll read this blog sometime in the near future and think, “There he goes, being contentious again.” I hope that won’t be the case. But if it appears to be so, contention is not my intention. This blog has always been a place where I state my opinion on things happening in my life and around me. My aim is not to change your mind or convert you to my way of thinking. That is not my goal nor my duty.
And if you sense that I’ve “lost my marbles” or have “gone off the rails,” please understand this: maybe I have . . . but I’m sure happy in the journey I’m on, even with an incomplete mind in the midst of my own train wreck! So enjoy this blog, learn from it if you can, be encouraged and uplifted–but don’t take me too seriously.