Friday, August 30, 2013

From Conservative Christian to Extravagant Christian

con·ser·va·tive adjective \kən-ˈsər-və-tiv\
1: preservative
2a : of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: as (1) : of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2) : progressive conservative
3a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional b : marked by moderation or caution : marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners
4: of, relating to, or practicing Conservative Judaism

ex·trav·a·gant adjective \ik-ˈstra-vi-gənt\
1a obsolete : strange, curious b archaic : wandering
2a : exceeding the limits of reason or necessity b : lacking in moderation, balance, and restraint c : extremely or excessively elaborate 3a : spending much more than necessary b : profuse, lavish
4: extremely or unreasonably high in price

For quite awhile I've been frustrated with the Christian community and the battles they choose to fight.  I remember as a teen ager hearing a speaker say that if we get busy doing all the things the Bible tells us to do we don't have time to worry about the don'ts.  Those things that are prohibited to us will fall by the wayside. 
What would happen if as a community Christians began to live the top two and that's all?  Just in case you need a reminder of the top two you can find them in Matthew 22:36-40.

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

That's it.  Love God.  Love others.  What kind of craziness would it be if I began to just do these?  If I merely did, said, thought, acted in love?  How extravagant!

Of course, I can immediately forget about loving and get into theological discussions of what  loving means and who is my neighbor and how can I love yet still take a stand on the issues I hold near and dear to my heart.  That would be the sensible thing.  I can't possibly follow the simple instructions I am given.  There must be more to it than that.  I must make more of it than that because loving is truly too difficult for me to manage.  I'm much better at judging, rationalizing and justifying.  I've got the skills for that.  Loving, not so much. 

Today, I'm going to begin (or perhaps I'm really continuing) to do something extravagant.  I am going to spend my day loving God and loving others.  That's all.  It's going to be difficult.  I'm going to fail, repeatedly.  That's fine.  I can keep trying because the truth is that where Christ is concerned I am not conservative.  I am extravagant.

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