You’re not as conservative (or liberal) as you think
You know where your wallet is (unless you’ve recently misplaced it). The ketchup is on the refrigerator door on the shelf where you keep the mustard, relish, salsa and the salad dressing. You shop at this grocery store when in this town, that grocery store when you’re in another.
You’re pretty set in your ways.
Even if you define yourself as someone who is not set in your ways, you do have patterns, responses and go-to routines. For example, you may eat your salad after your main meal, not before. Chocolate? Never. Coffee before 9 AM? Always. No. Seriously. Always.
So it is with two words that have been beaten on by our culture, and even ourselves. Conversative. Liberal.
In reflection of Pentecost Sunday, which (most?) churches celebrated this past Sunday, June 5, I invite you to rethink just how defined you think you are in what has become two polarizing camps.
First, however, for anyone who is unfamiliar with Pentecost Sunday, orientation isn’t just nice, it’s necessary. Pentecost celebrates the fiftieth day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday. This day commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1–31).
Fifteen groups in the process of forming Christianity meet in one place on this fiftieth day. These fifteen groups are vastly different in theologies, ideologies, languages and locations beyond geographical areas. They are conservative or liberal, devout or less structured, questioning or certain.
The first miracle is that they do, in fact, gather. Let this teach us all something.
The second miracle is that those gathered suddenly experience a sound from heaven in a roaring and mighty windstorm that fills the house where they are sitting (Acts 2:2).
This windstorm creates the third miracle. The language barriers brought into the house disappear. Everyone hears the wonderful things God has done not through a translator, but in their own native languages (Acts 2:11).
The wonderful things God has done (and continues to do) needs no translator. These wonderful communications happen when we gather. The emphasis here, in the present-day Spirit of Pentecost, is this: everyone gathers.
Conversative. Liberal. Right. Left. Those who like salsa. Those who never use mustard. Those who never lose their wallet. Those who can never find their wallet.
It’s 2022. Can we gather?
Why? So that we can hear the fullness of God and embrace the wonderful things God has done—and is doing.
If we want to experience God, we need to meet together. We need to sit together. We need to listen to each other through the different “languages” we are using today.
Here’s a truth you know but may hide from yourself. You are conversative here. You’re liberal there. That’s not bunk for those who identify one way only. You do move beyond immediate platforms and agendas, even when you don’t realize it because the only absolute is our God who speaks and sometimes chooses situations to make Himself present through those around you. I’m not saying you don’t hold positions and platforms. I am saying God, like this mighty wind, is calling you out of you so that God can be more a part of you.
For God to be more a part of you, keep listening to others. Keep loving others.
Also invite Pentecost Sunday be a part of you not once a year but through each worship experience, and in each day.
Each worship you experience gathers different-minded people. Even if you think you’re one of the fifteen groups I mentioned and your group is clearly defined by this, this and that, you’ll discover the Holy Spirit isn’t done blowing (or perhaps blurring) your thoughts a bit. The Holy Spirit is challenging, surprising, enlightening, stretching, encouraging and, in being predictable in unpredictability, is far from finished defining and refining you to be more like Christ.