Our society is deeply divided–cast into political, racial and economic schisms. But what about the church? Is the church today an agent of harmony–or division?
Some Christians eagerly foment discord and even hatred toward those they oppose. Mirroring today’s shout fests on cable news, some in the Christian community seem determined to loudly declare their outrage toward a politician, party or policy. It’s become a game of one-upmanship. When it comes to outrage, everyone wants to out-rage the next person.
But is outrage our best witness in these times? Not according to Derwin Gray, pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-ethnic congregation near Charlotte, North Carolina. He said, in this week’s Holy Soup podcast, “When Christians are participating in the division and the brokenness and the hurt, we have a discipleship problem.”
So does that mean the church should simply keep the peace and turn away and act like the conflicts of the day do not exist? No, Gray said, “Conflict, if it’s done in love, is a good thing.” In his church he advocates engaging tough topics head-on, as Jesus did. The church can be a place of exchanging views without exchanging blows. In the podcast, Gray describes how he observed one of his members, an older white man, wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap. He sat peacefully next to an African-American woman wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt. That’s a typical scene at Transformation Church, he said.
Today’s culture desperately needs a model of civil discourse. What if the church could show the way?
And meet Derwin Gray in person at the upcoming Future of the Church summit. More information on that here.