Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Vision Casting FBCN- Transparent Vulnerability

We were discussing tonight, during a vision casting series for our small group studies, the need for relationships...What strikes me as a dire need when it comes to forming meaningful relationships is transparent vulnerability. By this I mean that each of us, as a redeemed member of the family of God, should be able to be open, honest, and consistent with one another. This level of transparency has the benefit of dropping the need to save face, or hide potentially shameful bits of ourselves for the fear of no longer fitting in or belonging in the church. Its the equivalent of getting everyone to wear a sandwich board every Sunday upon which everyone chooses to write out their best and worst features. It allows for easy knowledge of just how screwed up we all are, and prevents any of us from achieving a place of judgement over others based on their sins, while ignoring our own. This transparency aids us in eliminating situations in which we must be reminded that those without sin should cast the first stones. It also allows for easy understanding, discussion, and loving support of each other in areas we find difficult to talk about, while eliminating the pious church culture that has formed in which we all are sitting around pretending that we are no longer sinners, or that we no longer struggle with the sins in our past. By being openly honest and transparent about who we are not only without Christ, but also with Christ we arrive at the common flat ground that is found at the foot of the cross, where all are welcome and where Jesus' atoning, perfect sacrifice was sufficient to cover all sins for all time for all people. By being open and honest to this level we also accept the responsibility that we stand the chance to be ridiculed by others who have not chosen to become a part of this openness. This vulnerability must be accepted in order to fully experience the depth and intimacy of a love that is to serve as witness to the unimaginable love of Christ that is to define his disciples. If we want to be a church known for the strength of our relationships and our adherence to the standard set by Christ to love each other as He first loved us, we must be willing to adhere to an understanding of this transparent vulnerability. We must be willing to say that we are broken, sinful, and that we don't know it all, we don't have all the answers, but we know that Christ's grace is sufficient for us.

The double edged sword of this swings back through us by needing to realize something... as much as people say they want to attend a church that is loving and caring, most people will be scared off when it becomes real. When confronted by truth, people are forced to respond... people are happy to commit to something or even just consider something, up until it reaches a point that it becomes too real. If we, as the members of the body of Christ, commit to having these relationships at this level, it is likely going to become very real, very fast. As an example, my own small group is full of men who are surprisingly open and honest, to the point of bluntness. We have identified that there is a very real risk that any man who happens to wander into our class on any given Sunday will likely be scared off and not return because, at times, we get very real, very personal in our discussion and depth we dive into scripture. As such, we have made an attempt, on Sunday mornings to hold a little tighter to the discussions we are having, making us more inviting and able to accommodate people of more diverse comfort levels. To balance this, we also get together on Sunday evenings as a group of men to tackle the deeper, more visceral parts of life we are dealing with. Allowing us to have that deep intimate relationship that we crave, while still trying to reach new people who may not be ready for the level of commitment required.

I hope our church can continue to grow in these areas, I hope we are known as a church that is honest to who we are, and who Christ is. A place where all are welcomed and able to seek help and guidance as they desire to grow closer to a God whose grace is sufficient to cover all of their transgressions, past present, and future.

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