A Transparent, Tough, and Needed Discussion at City Church

Yesterday at City Church we took a Sunday to break away from our "regularly scheduled programming" for a Sunday of intentional prayer, reflection, and discussion regarding what has been happening in our culture.  We discussed racism, violence, the role of the church, and many other tough topics.

A few of the things that I took away from our discussion:

- God is in absolute sovereign control. Not one thing that has happened recently caught God by surprise. His sovereign rules extends to every square inch of our planet and He can be trusted.

- We must be intentional to listen way more than we speak.  Social media is a platform that gives me the opportunity to state an opinion before I take time to listen.  Don't fall into the trap. It is easy to make noise with a keyboard.

- Life matters to God - all life.  Protestors. Victims. Cops. Criminals. Bystanders. All life is valuable. Every person is created in God's image.  Treat people like they are valuable ... particularly those with whom I disagree and are different than me.

- We know and believe that all lives matter YET it is not necessary for me to dismiss the hurt of a particular group who wants to emphasize the value of their lives. Black Lives Matter - yes, yes they do.  All Lives Matter - yes, yes they do.  There is no reason to create an unnecessary divide between the two.  Allow people the space to voice their hurt without dismissing it.

- There are people in every movement who speak and behave inappropriately and sinfully. Don't be one of those people and don't judge the entire movement by the voice of the loudest.

- I am a mid-40s white American male who lives in a specific region and in a particular socio-economic class.  That is my life perspective. I should not pretend to understand the life perspective of someone who is not in my life situation.  I am not a black, urban, twenty-something year old male who lives in a different life context than me. I should not pretend I know how he feels or how he should react.  I need to listen and seek to understand the heart and hurt of others. 

- Get to know people who are different than you and seek to understand their life perspective. Look for common ground.  

- Don't be a "yeah, but" person ("yeah, but he was a criminal") ... true compassion does not seek to qualify - it listens and seeks to understand why someone is hurting.  Jesus followers should lead the way in terms of compassion and mercy.  

- Repentance begins with me. 

- God has placed human means in place to help thwart evil and promote good.  These institutions are composed of flawed sinners.  I should pray for them - all of them.  I should pray as fervently for the President and government officials with whom I disagree as the police officer who sits in my church.  I do not get to pick and choose based on my beliefs which government officials deserve my respect and prayers. Paul instructs us to pray for and intercede for ALL of them.

- We seek to be full of grace and truth.  Sacrificing one for the other misses the point of the gospel and model of Jesus.

- I have been reconciled to God and others through Jesus.  As a Jesus follower, I am an agent of reconciliation.  I should promote peace and unity not division and hate.

- Our world is broken. I am broken. Jesus is the ultimate answer. Point people to Him.

- As a Jesus follower, my beliefs will often run counter-cultural. That is okay. The Church thrives in times of uncertainty, trial, and persecution.  Just don't be a jerk with those beliefs because that is counter-Jesus.

I left yesterday's time together with a ton of thoughts in my head and heart.  I think we were able to talk about some tough issues in a raw and authentic way that left us all challenged.  Thankfully we have some diversity in our church so we were able to hear from different people with different perspectives. It was refreshing and I am thankful that my children were exposed to the gospel at work.

Thank you City Church.  Hopefully this step was a small one in a positive direction. We have a long way to go but I think our community of Jesus followers grew stronger yesterday.

** We did not record the service intentionally.  I wanted people to be able to share freely in a family style gathering.  I believe it accomplished its purpose.

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